Is Klout The First Casualty Of The GDPR Laws? | ALC Training News

  • No comments

Klout was a social media tool that helped online influencers measure their influence online. It was bought for $200 million by a company called Lithium in 2014. It targeted the most popular social media platforms such as Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn and YouTube and provided you with an influencer score. The higher the score, the more influential you were likely to be.

As of the 25th of May, Klout was retired. This coincided with the timing of the new European Union, General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) laws. These came into force on the same date.

So why did Lithium retire Klout?

It really boils down to return on investment. Lithium bought the people, intellectual property and the technology to help them improve their products. They specialise in creating products that improve your customer service via social media channels. Understanding the influence and pervasiveness of a brand, was crucial to their strategy, and Klout provided this service. This allowed Lithium to acquire talent and knowledge. 

In addition, Klout does not provide an obvious or known revenue stream for Lithium, as it’s a free tool. It’s a similar problem that Facebook and Twitter have faced in the past, until they utilised advertising and promotion as a means of making revenue.  

Finally GDPR is complex legislation with a heap of complexities associated with it. Let’s provide some real examples using Klout:

Klout is used by millions of social media users around the world. A proportion of them live in the EU, which consists of 28 separate countries. That means Lithium would need to comply with the GDPR legislation. This would include some key investments in the Lithium business to comply with GDPR. Here are some examples:

  • Providing a means to report data breaches in the EU to their respective data authority: There is one data authority in each member state.  So a breach of users that live in all 28 separate countries, would likely result in notification breaches to 28 separate authorities. It’s likely that each authority will insist on breach notifications for the users in their respective jurisdiction. The initial response to this, has to be done within 72 hours! 
  • Allowing customers the ‘right to be erased’ in the system: This means erasing all the data associated with a user. If you’ve ever worked with social media analytics, especially information sharing services like Twitter, you’ll know that the potential data stored is both vast and complex. So this is not an easy task and it’s likely that evidence will need to be shown that the data has indeed been erased. 

For more information on GDPR, check out our simple guide to the GDPR.

The great news for social media influencers, like myself, is that there are two viable alternatives to Klout:

  1. Kred
  2. Skorr 

How to use Kred

Kred is a well known tool that scores both influence and outreach using a publicly available algorithm. “Influence” measures the likelihood that someone will act upon the user’s posts, while “Outreach” measures the user’s tendency to share other people’s content

The way in which Kred scores a user can be seen in how it allocates the metrics for influence and outreach. This information is available when the user logs in and provides an audit trail of how the scores have been calculated.

Another upside to Kred, is that there is open API integration into the platform. Which means third party companies that wish to use the data, can do so. Here is a great example of how Kred is being used by rise.global to create social influencer charts. 

How to use Skorr

Skorr – although not as well known – really impressed me with the downloadable Android app, that is a work of art in itself. It’s very easy to use, there’s no problems with OAUTH or login. It also has a few really awesome features in the app. My favourite is the chart which shows where you are in terms of score in relation to your fellow influencers. As you can see I have some catching up to do…

​It also includes a really great FAQ that answers many of my questions, around how the app scores you.  

The only downside seems to be from a developer perspective, as the APIs are not available for general use. This means it can’t be used by third parties. You could argue that is a good thing, if you don’t want your score to be used autonomously in an app. Or a bad thing, if you want to see how you rate against other influencers in a third party charting system. Overall I believe in open APIs, so I see this as a downside for the world of influencing.

Interesting in learning more about social media scoring, GDPR or cloud security? ALC Training provides comprehensive cloud computing training courses, taught by yours truly.

And feel free to follow me on Twitter:

Paul "Cloud" Colmer is a forward thinking digital business leader, with a passion for the practical application of disruptive technologies. As Lead Digital Architect at ALC Group he has oversight and responsibility for ALC's Digital Architecture and Cloud instruction and advisory services complemented by an array of recent cloud certifications from AWS, VMware, Microsoft and ISC2.