Is Klout Really Accessing Your Protected Tweets?

 

Last week I wrote, “Klout Story Part 1 –  Are you reading between the lines?, which concentrated on some of Klout’s privacy issues.

Klout’s Marketing Manager, Ms. Megan Berry, commented on my post and disputed my claim that privacy might be at risk. In her reply she said that Klout gathers public information to create a Klout profile and that they don't breach any privacy issue by doing so.
 

Megan stated, “If you want your Tweets to only be available to approved followers, you can set your account to protected. Tweets posted by a protected account are only visible to approved followers and not otherwise publicly available to third parties.”  

This means that protected accounts cannot be read, ranked or categorized by third parties such as Klout. Is she right? Are Klout’s statements accurate? Unfortunately, they are not. Over the weekend I checked hundreds of protected Twitter accounts that also were unregistered with Klout. I was shocked to discover that all the protected, unregistered accounts had a Klout profile complete with assigned topics and Klout scores as low as 10 but also as high as 77.

My question to Klout is how can you assign topics to a protected account when you state third parties cannot analyze protected tweets?

More importantly, who gives Klout the rights to publish protected accounts, create Klout profiles and generate topics?

See below three protected twitter accounts with their respective unregistered Klout Profiles, scores and topics. Judge Klout transparency for yourself:

 

 
 
 

I strongly believe that this so called, “Standard for Influence”, including just how Klout determines this influence and these scores, should be public knowledge. This information should be fully disclosed to users, registered or not, as well as to the 2000+ companies accessing and using these scores.

Again, it’s my opinion that Klout may be pitting the 2000 companies accessing our data in a possible legal battle against us. This represents thousands of Twitter users worldwide, potentially every single Twitter user out there, due to their unauthorized access of our information published through the Klout website.

Perhaps we should be understanding of the shortcomings due to the fact that Klout is still in Beta. But somehow the Beta issue is never presented when it comes to selling the Klout Perks Program or when the CEO of Klout Joe Fernandez is claiming in a public interview that Klout should be used in something as real and important as the hiring practices of human resource departments everywhere.

If we’re in Beta and we’re to forgive the algorithms and lack of transparency during this time, perhaps Klout should not be forging ahead with companies as well as onto resumes and into human resource offices at this time.

It’s my opinion that Twitter’s legal department should have a closer look into the privacy breaches by Klout and how Twitter’s protected user information is being accessed, collated and distributed.

To be continued…

 

 

 

 

 

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36 comments
nicholas butler
nicholas butler

Ive only just learnt that despite removing my score from the website Klout still publish my score in the Chorme plugin. What is it with Klout that they wont acknowledge a users wishes ? 

nicholas butler
nicholas butler

Ive only just learnt that despite removing my score from the website Klout still publish my score in the Chorme plugin. What is it with Klout that they wont acknowledge a users wishes ? 

Megan Berry
Megan Berry

Hey Jure,
1) We do give users options in their profile -- they can remove topics or influencers they don't feel are a good fit for them (or for any other reason for that matter). As I mentioned, if a private Twitter user contacts us directly with their desire to not be scored, we will respect their wishes.

2) No, it will not appear back up.

I hope that answers your questions, if I have misundestood them, please let me know. 

Thanks,@meganberry
Megan Berry
Marketing Manager, Klout

Megan Berry
Megan Berry

Hey Jure, 1) We do give users options in their profile -- they can remove topics or influencers they don't feel are a good fit for them (or for any other reason for that matter). As I mentioned, if a private Twitter user contacts us directly with their desire to not be scored, we will respect their wishes.   2) No, it will not appear back up.   I hope that answers your questions, if I have misundestood them, please let me know.    Thanks, Megan Berry Marketing Manager, Klout @meganberry

Megan Berry
Megan Berry

Hi Jure,

We do not access private tweets. We score users based on public data. When a user chooses to make their tweets private, we do not see any of that information. You'll notice, however, that other users do talk publicly about these accounts. Take your example of @widikidiw who has a high Score. If you do a simple Twitter search you'll see there is a lot of activity around this account -- http://twitter.com/#!/search/%40widikidiw and that leads to their Score.

Again, for topics, we use that public information, not any information derived from privarte info. If a high-influence users ask a user questions on a specific topic, it is a not a big leap to assume they have influence on that subject. 

If a private user were to contact us and ask for their account be taken down we would respect that. Thanks for your time. 

As for using Klout for real-life decisions -- that is always left up to the person or company in question. We would never say that any decision shoudl be made solely based on Klout Score just as one shouldn't determine a person's worth simply by SAT or credit score. 

Thank you,@meganberry
Megan Berry
Marketing Manager, Klout

Megan Berry
Megan Berry

  Hi Jure,   We do not access private tweets. We score users based on public data. When a user chooses to make their tweets private, we do not see any of that information. You'll notice, however, that other users do talk publicly about these accounts. Take your example of @widikidiw who has a high Score. If you do a simple Twitter search you'll see there is a lot of activity around this account -- http://twitter.com/#!/search/%40widikidiw and that leads to their Score.   Again, for topics, we use that public information, not any information derived from privarte info. If a high-influence users ask a user questions on a specific topic, it is a not a big leap to assume they have influence on that subject.    If a private user were to contact us and ask for their account be taken down we would respect that. Thanks for your time.    As for using Klout for real-life decisions -- that is always left up to the person or company in question. We would never say that any decision shoudl be made solely based on Klout Score just as one shouldn't determine a person's worth simply by SAT or credit score.    Thank you, Megan Berry Marketing Manager, Klout @meganberry    

susanborst
susanborst

Very interesting post, Jure, and also alarming as others have stated.  Great job with the concrete visual examples. What's the point of "protected" tweets if, in the end, the world can see your topic activity and "influence"?
I do value Klout on many levels.  I just think more transparency will definitely help (which, in fairness, I do know they are striving to achieve.)
Thanks again.  Let me know if I can help in any way for your "....to be continued" post! I have an idea on something to "investigate"!

susanborst
susanborst

Very interesting post, Jure, and also alarming as others have stated.  Great job with the concrete visual examples. What's the point of "protected" tweets if, in the end, the world can see your topic activity and "influence"? I do value Klout on many levels.  I just think more transparency will definitely help (which, in fairness, I do know they are striving to achieve.) Thanks again.  Let me know if I can help in any way for your "....to be continued" post! I have an idea on something to "investigate"!  

Michael Q Todd
Michael Q Todd

OK Jure you have almost totally lost me now. I have one question for you before I walk away though.
Is Klout a force for good for good or is it not?

Michael Q Todd
Michael Q Todd

OK Jure you have almost totally lost me now. I have one question for you before I walk away though. Is Klout a force for good for good or is it not?

Peggy Fitzpatrick
Peggy Fitzpatrick

Oh! That is interesting - always something to think about. I do wish that Klout was transparent in the practices and algorithms. The changes that take place make things go up & down without giving a reason - seems like an unfair practice.
Hmmm can't wait for the NEXT post....

Peggy Fitzpatrick
Peggy Fitzpatrick

Oh! That is interesting - always something to think about. I do wish that Klout was transparent in the practices and algorithms. The changes that take place make things go up & down without giving a reason - seems like an unfair practice. Hmmm can't wait for the NEXT post....    

Anni Bricca
Anni Bricca

Wow. I could not be more shocked by the graphics displaying Klout scores and topics for users who not only aren't registered with Klout but who also have 'protected' tweets. I'd recommend everyone click on those images to really see the detail. Apparently Klout has access to all users, all tweets, all the time, no matter what. I would imagine at this point that direct messages are fair game, too.
  So it seems having Megan Berry tell you to hide your tweets was just a ruse to shut you up, restrict and hamper your ability to engage in social media, and yet collect your information anyway.  Is that even legal? Sadly, I actually believed this was a fix for some, albeit lame, unfair and self serving. 
   Whether her company is feeding her misinformation, directing her to lie, or she's making stuff up on the fly, she, and they, have lost all credibility. None of which can be blamed on BETA.

Anni Bricca
Anni Bricca

Wow. I could not be more shocked by the graphics displaying Klout scores and topics for users who not only aren't registered with Klout but who also have 'protected' tweets. I'd recommend everyone click on those images to really see the detail. Apparently Klout has access to all users, all tweets, all the time, no matter what. I would imagine at this point that direct messages are fair game, too.   So it seems having Megan Berry tell you to hide your tweets was just a ruse to shut you up, restrict and hamper your ability to engage in social media, and yet collect your information anyway.  Is that even legal? Sadly, I actually believed this was a fix for some, albeit lame, unfair and self serving.     Whether her company is feeding her misinformation, directing her to lie, or she's making stuff up on the fly, she, and they, have lost all credibility. None of which can be blamed on BETA.  

Bruce Sallan
Bruce Sallan

Wow, investigative journalisim is alive and well with you, Jure!  As for me, I have no complainst about my Klout score - but it sure is suspect that I have a higher "Klout" than Jack Welch - however little he may use Social Media!

Bruce Sallan
Bruce Sallan

Wow, investigative journalisim is alive and well with you, Jure! 
As for me, I have no complainst about my Klout score - but it sure is suspect that I have a higher "Klout" than Jack Welch - however little he may use Social Media!

Latentexistence
Latentexistence

I know that Klout measures reactions, e.g. mentions and retweets. (Both old and new style.) It is quite possible that the scores of those with protected tweets are based entirely on those.

Latentexistence
Latentexistence

I know that Klout measures reactions, e.g. mentions and retweets. (Both old and new style.) It is quite possible that the scores of those with protected tweets are based entirely on those.

nik butler
nik butler

Additionally users should have the ability to login , claim their profile and then mark it as opting our or deleted. They dont offer this service by default instead you have to go through hoops with their support team. I got to the point of writing a blog post and constantly hounding Joe on various blog posts until his team "looked into this" and then they simply marked my account as disabled. 

A new Influence tool 'Kred.ly' from the people behind people browser is soon to arrive and they are working ofrom years of twitter data. They too dont have an optout or remove tool in place but they did write to confirm that they will be implementing one by October. Meanwhile they will disable the score for my name. 

Personally I find these social influence and scoring sites to be tasteless, gross and frankly abusive. Just because something is public does not suggest that someone is willing to take part in a public process; such thoughts are mindless and selfish and are as unsocial as rudely interupting people at parties. 
My bit has been said I am off to see how Kred.ly will get on 

nik butler
nik butler

Additionally users should have the ability to login , claim their profile and then mark it as opting our or deleted. They dont offer this service by default instead you have to go through hoops with their support team. I got to the point of writing a blog post and constantly hounding Joe on various blog posts until his team "looked into this" and then they simply marked my account as disabled.    A new Influence tool 'Kred.ly' from the people behind people browser is soon to arrive and they are working ofrom years of twitter data. They too dont have an optout or remove tool in place but they did write to confirm that they will be implementing one by October. Meanwhile they will disable the score for my name.    Personally I find these social influence and scoring sites to be tasteless, gross and frankly abusive. Just because something is public does not suggest that someone is willing to take part in a public process; such thoughts are mindless and selfish and are as unsocial as rudely interupting people at parties.  My bit has been said I am off to see how Kred.ly will get on 

Jure
Jure

Megan,
thank you for your explanation. Just a question, if users protects their tweets and only share with the approved users is not fair to say that users has some privacy rights. But would be just more simple if Klout implements some privacy control options that will allow users to control what they want to share and what they don't from Klout profile?

And another question so we all understand the situation if a user ask Klout to take his profile down, it will not appear back up if his tweets are RT / replayed by unprotected users on Twitter ?

Megan thank you for clearing things out.

Jure
Jure

Megan, thank you for your explanation. Just a question, if users protects their tweets and only share with the approved users is not fair to say that users has some privacy rights. But would be just more simple if Klout implements some privacy control options that will allow users to control what they want to share and what they don't from Klout profile? And another question so we all understand the situation if a user ask Klout to take his profile down, it will not appear back up if his tweets are RT / replayed by unprotected users on Twitter ? Megan thank you for clearing things out.

Jure
Jure

No Twitter did not response to it, but Megan from Klout just made a comment. She did clarify few things.

Jure
Jure

No Twitter did not response to it, but Megan from Klout just made a comment. She did clarify few things.

Jure
Jure

Michael Hi,

this post was direct replay to Megan's comment on my post. I understand you as being member of Klout Squad that you like Klout. But you need to admit Klout is not transparent to their users. You can see by yourself on their FB page people posting Cease and desist requests in order to get remove from their site and to stop tracking their online activities without consent.

To answer your question Klout is Marketing Company who sales data. Perks program is paid service and starts at $25.000 and was previously reported in Klout Chats.

As you don't like my post I personally don't like when an employee of the company in question comes and try to discredit my post with buggos info posted in comments. I made the case that Klout does not care for privacy of their users and is wrong. Again i am not talking about my account but about accounts in general. They might get away with privacy breach in USA but certainly they will not get away in Europe. We all know what happened to FB like button in Germany recently. Instead of ignoring the posts and believe me i am not the only who is bring up concerns they should response to us and talk to us. Is simply a Klout community that has an issue with being transparent.

Respectfully,
Jure

Jure
Jure

Michael Hi, this post was direct replay to Megan's comment on my post. I understand you as being member of Klout Squad that you like Klout. But you need to admit Klout is not transparent to their users. You can see by yourself on their FB page people posting Cease and desist requests in order to get remove from their site and to stop tracking their online activities without consent. To answer your question Klout is Marketing Company who sales data. Perks program is paid service and starts at $25.000 and was previously reported in Klout Chats. As you don't like my post I personally don't like when an employee of the company in question comes and try to discredit my post with buggos info posted in comments. I made the case that Klout does not care for privacy of their users and is wrong. Again i am not talking about my account but about accounts in general. They might get away with privacy breach in USA but certainly they will not get away in Europe. We all know what happened to FB like button in Germany recently. Instead of ignoring the posts and believe me i am not the only who is bring up concerns they should response to us and talk to us. Is simply a Klout community that has an issue with being transparent. Respectfully, Jure

Jure
Jure

Hi Annie,

Well my Point is to demonstrate that protected tweets are not protected in Klout world. Klout did said last week that only way is protected tweet. It my comes from RT and mention from other users but whole point is if user has protected tweets so how can you determine the topics. Topics are determine base on content that you create, and this clearly stated by Klout not by me. So this tells me that Klout has somehow access to protected tweets, they question is how. Might be beta :)

Jure
Jure

Hi Annie, Well my Point is to demonstrate that protected tweets are not protected in Klout world. Klout did said last week that only way is protected tweet. It my comes from RT and mention from other users but whole point is if user has protected tweets so how can you determine the topics. Topics are determine base on content that you create, and this clearly stated by Klout not by me. So this tells me that Klout has somehow access to protected tweets, they question is how. Might be beta :)

Jure
Jure

Hi Bruce, Thank you for stoping by and commenting. Yes i took same time over the weekend and done a bit of research on protected tweets. I am was simply just replying on Megan's comment on last week post. Yes was bit shocking to see that users with protected tweets has assign topics. I did ask Megan in chat if topics are determine via examining of the tweet content to which she answered yes. It is strange that Klout can analyze protected tweets. In view protected has some meaning no ?

Jure
Jure

Hi Bruce, Thank you for stoping by and commenting. Yes i took same time over the weekend and done a bit of research on protected tweets. I am was simply just replying on Megan's comment on last week post. Yes was bit shocking to see that users with protected tweets has assign topics. I did ask Megan in chat if topics are determine via examining of the tweet content to which she answered yes. It is strange that Klout can analyze protected tweets. In view protected has some meaning no ?

Jure
Jure

Yes it might be possible, but to determine the topics is more difficult, they need to access the original tweet, which in this case is protected. Even when you want to RT someone with protected tweets you get warning so many people / users dont RT protected tweets.
Thank you for comment, it something to take in account for sure.

Jure
Jure

Yes it might be possible, but to determine the topics is more difficult, they need to access the original tweet, which in this case is protected. Even when you want to RT someone with protected tweets you get warning so many people / users dont RT protected tweets. Thank you for comment, it something to take in account for sure.

Jure
Jure

Nik I agree with you Klout should at minimum have an option of disabling the account if users wants to do so. I don't see the point why users should write to them to remove the profile. I saw on their facebook page few days ago a user publicly demanding to remove his profile off and they still didn't do it. They are breaking privacy law of Europe big times. And it all comes down to selling the Perks Program nothing more.
I heard about Kred and i know the company behind it, the are very respectful Social Media Monitoring Company and I am very positive that will take in account all small details when it comes to privacy.
Nik Thank you for your comment as well.

Jure
Jure

Nik I agree with you Klout should at minimum have an option of disabling the account if users wants to do so. I don't see the point why users should write to them to remove the profile. I saw on their facebook page few days ago a user publicly demanding to remove his profile off and they still didn't do it. They are breaking privacy law of Europe big times. And it all comes down to selling the Perks Program nothing more. I heard about Kred and i know the company behind it, the are very respectful Social Media Monitoring Company and I am very positive that will take in account all small details when it comes to privacy. Nik Thank you for your comment as well.

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