So remember when I wrote about how Klout had created a profile for my 13 year-old son? And how the story made it to the New York Times? And how Klout apologized and “rolled back” the changes, and vowed they had “no interest” in attracting minors to their site, and had supposedly set up some kind of safeguards ensuring that the same thing wouldn’t happen again?
Well, it’s happened again.
This is a screenshot of my Klout profile yesterday:
In case it’s not clear from the picture, it’s a snapshot of my “influence network”–including one mystery head. The mystery head, when moused-over, as depicted in this screen shot, is my 15 year old daughter, and Klout is urging me to invite her to Klout (I have scribbled out her last name–that’s the black scribble).
To be perfectly clear: my Facebook profile is PRIVATE, not public. My daughter’s Facebook profile is PRIVATE, not set to public. Yes, I have opted into Klout–something I’ll be remedying soon–but where are the “safeguards” ensuring that Klout users aren’t being urged to invite minors to set up profiles and link up their accounts, thereby giving Klout access to their data?
Here’s the thing: parents need to be friends with their kids on Facebook to protect them and ensure they’re not doing anything they shouldn’t be doing, and to teach them about using social networks safely. But Klout is making it so that, in fact, by friending their kids on Facebook and not expressly opting out of Klout (a complicated and convoluted process), parents are actually providing Klout a direct pipeline to their kids.
How hard can it be to set up some kind of parameters ensuring that profiles of people under 18 will not be included in people’s influence networks?
I’m about to make it easier by a factor of one: I’m off to delete my Klout profile.