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Whoa, Klout! +Tonia Ries writes: "When I logged into my Klout page this morning, I was very surprised to see that Klout now lists my son as one of the people I influence. Anyone who is a parent of a young adult will know that nothing is more unlikely. And, knowing that my son is not on Twitter, and has always been very careful about managing his privacy on the Internet, how did Klout get the information to create a profile on my son???"
Klout is creating profiles for people you're connected to on Facebook. People like your mother-in-law, and your kids. Here's the scoop.
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Marco Campana's profile photoWendy Blyth's profile photoWilliam Widugiris III's profile photoMecca Ibrahim's profile photo
29 comments
 
What's your opinion on Klout! Neville, would be interested to hear.
 
If she's connected to her son on Facebook...and she's connected her Facebook account, then the mystery is solved.

Klout doesn't have magical powers. It can only connect to the people you connect to through the networks you've attached to Klout.
 
It's a big question +Chris Hambly Unclear to me what the real value is in light of a) the changes they announced yesterday and b) experiences like those of Tonia Ries. Twitter is lit up with critical comment inlcuding mine. Trust in Klout is taking a huge beating right now.
 
+Neville Hobson I think that's a fair assumption and the article you refer to is reasoned and balanced, though I find the "20 years to" a bit weak. Technology advances far quicker each 6 months than the previous 6 months. I suppose what worries me more is that you or I, and perhaps most reading this thread, might glance at a Klout! score and take it with a pinch of salt, I'm not sure everyone does. - No biggie, just thinking out loud really.
 
+Chris Hambly Most people I know online - probably about 80% of them - say they do take Klout with a pinch of salt. Wonder how reflective that is of opinion-formers as opposed to everyone online.
 
Hi everyone - even more concerning: I'm hearing from parents that they are seeing Klout profiles for their kids as young as 13. Yes @Shane this happened because I had my FB account linked to Klout, and my son is connected to me on FB. But you know what? I'm really tired of finding out about how random changes to platforms affects how I manage my digital boundaries after the boundaries have been crossed. Especially with a platform like Klout, which doesn't let you delete or deactivate a profile.
 
+Tonia Ries ( Klout, doesn't let you delete or deactivate a profile ) sounds very similar to the Facebook privacy policy
 
Hi I am the CEO of PeerIndex - and we are grappling with some of these privacy issues. Can I take a temperature?

1. Is it reasonable to create a profile for someone based on their public twitter feed? (A public feed?)
2. Is it reasonable to create a profile based on a LinkedIn public profile?
3. What level of privacy would you want on your profile?
 
I think this all depends on Tonia's son's Facebook privacy settings.
 
For me (this is not so much a privacy question) I'm more interested in the specific details of each algorithm. Though I know I'm high-jacking the thread a little.
 
Items in margin is ok
Items indented is irrelevant (but Klout seems to be collecting this anyway, how & where they reuse this data leads to spam and targetted advertising, this data has nothing to do with Klout Algorithm)

"nick":"twittername or facebookname",
"firstName":"firstName",
"lastName":"lastName",
................. "email":"emailaddress",
................. " gender ":null,
................. " dob ":null,
"aboutServiceId":null,
"aboutText":null,
................. " maritalStatus ":null,
................. " zip ":"0null",
................. " householdIncome ":null,
................. " educationLevel ":null,
................. " race ":null,
................. " householdSize ":null,
 
Technically, anything that is shared as public content can legally be 'scored', whether or not you think this is moral/appropriate. And being 'careful' about your privacy settings is a matter of perspective. If, for instance, any content you share on Facebook is accessible by 'Friends of Friends' or even 'Friends and Networks', you have to understand this is essentially 'going public'. Content is shared across a sufficiently large number of users who have linked their Facebook account to a service like Klout for the activity stream to be recorded anyway.

But none of this addresses the fact that ALL scoring systems are based on activity and networks. And yet influence as a concept is most effective when no discernible activity has occurred, and where it reaches beyond one's networks. Finally, all measurement systems can be 'gamed' to change your score. The very fact that it is possible to change a scoring system by specific behaviours isn't evidence of increasing influence, but just increased activity among measurable actions - thus essentially debunking the scoring system as a measure of influence.
 
+Azeem Azhar Azeem, to answer your questions: if you are pulling info from a public profile -- Twitter, LinkedIn or maybe even a Facebook page, no problem. The problem is when you start pulling from personal Facebook and maybe even Google Plus profiles -- users who visit my FB wall have different privacy ... call them "preferences" ... from mine. Just because they associate with me (public person) does not make them fair game. So this starts with the very convoluted and not very transparent preferences settings on Facebook, and is compounded by the fact that Klout is not transparent either. Any service I interact with should give me clear information about what information they are getting on me (and by extension my social graph) and give me the ability to easily manage that information. If not, then rage. Klout says "everyone has klout" but they leave out "whether they want it or not". Auto-pulling info from a public profile - ok. But always give me a way to opt out. Last anecdote: I heard from someone today who had de-activated her Facebook account -- but still saw her entire social graph from Facebook get pulled into Klout. See what I mean?
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No one 'opts in' to Klout. They didn't 'sign up' millions of users. It all happens thanks to followers and followers of followers.

Since all the fuss, I went to see what was going on and for some reason Klout seems to think I'm influential about Fishing. I do not fish, nor do I eat fish, nor do I talk about fish on twitter or anywhere else, proving that Klout is an absolute load of rubbish.

It's utterly meaningless. Anyone who actually cares about their Klout score (or judges someone based on theirs) is being utterly ridiculous. The fact that they conned Kleiner Perkins in to giving them $12million beggars belief. It's all going to boil down to the 'perks' and special offers.
Kosso
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From their privacy policy: http://klout.com/corp/privacy "Our Policy Towards Children

The Site is not directed to persons under 18. If a parent or guardian becomes aware that his or her child has provided us with personally identifiable information without their consent, he or she should contact us at privacy@klout.com. We do not knowingly collect personally identifiable information from children under 13. If we become aware that a child under 13 has provided us with personal identifiable Information, we will delete such information from our files."

I suggest everyone revoke access from their Twitter account (go to settings > Applications and look for the Klout application) and also delete the application from your Facebook settings too.
 
+Kosso K They don't need access to your twitter or facebook to score you. Am I the only person that gets a constant barrage of notifications asking me to invite my network to klout every time I log in? This is not news. If you have a twitter or facebook account, you have klout.
 
Totally agree with +David Odumade (If you have a twitter or facebook account, you have Klout). Klout is a by-product for Twitter & Facebook to boost Celebrity Ranking & Advertising on these platforms = (Popularity & Activity) on social platforms attracts audiences what Klout is doing is encouraging users to interact differently with the social platforms 'play the game' ... when Klout ranked Justin Bieber influence at 100 I lost interest in Klout as a serious Social Media tool
 
Indeed influence (if that is what Klout is trying to tackle) has little to do with the amount of digital connections and recency of post. Not least because there is no way of measuring how many people have actually read a particular post. I'm surprised services like Hootsuite include it in their tool set.
 
Similar discussion started by +Euan Semple here https://plus.google.com/u/0/102646278174713579067/posts/7nB7tKpCePi#102646278174713579067/posts/7nB7tKpCePi
I totally agree with +Kosso K the things that my blogging account & my company's twitter account are deemed "influential" about seem to have little bearing on what we actually discuss on twitter or FB & more to do with what large amounts of other people discuss & talk about on FB & Twitter. Mention "tea cakes" and you're suddenly influential about Tea - which we are not!

Plus +Joanne Jacobs is spot on too. Once you know the algorithms all these systems can be gamed which is why they have to keep changing the algorithms which then makes the whole ranking pointless in the first place! How can influence change depending on who defines influence?
 
+Julie Williams You have to admit, when Justin Bieber speaks, a whole lot of people listen and repeat, Is that "true influence"? Doubtful. Klout is just a semi decent way to see how many people act on, or spread your message.

+Mecca Ibrahim Changing the algorithms doesn't make the ranking pointless, the more accurate the system becomes the more credible it becomes. It's not perfect, it probably never will be. People will game every system but as long as my score is far lower than someone like Oprah, I'd say they are doing ok.

It's all relevant, A score of 10 today may be equal to a 20 tomorrow. Doesn't really matter what my score is as long as it shows me more accurately in relation to others I am happy. Now, they do a pretty terrible job of identifying topics..
 
+David Odumade Mmm it makes the "scoring" fairly pointless (& probably thereby the ranking as your rank is determined by your score) I agree that the order of people often looks fairly OK in terms with major celebs - ie the example you give on Oprah. However, when certain people are "household" names in a fairly low level sense (our Michelin chefs for example - who are often on national TV) & they have a lower rank & score than someone like me (in another name I blog about the London Undeground), you do have to question the relevance & point.
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