How Klout Works

Klout Controversies

Klout may not have been around for too long, but it has done a bang-up job of courting controversy. From the moment it broke out, there's been a real sense of anger around not just the idea of Klout but also its practices.

First, we should acknowledge that lots of Internet and social media users simply find the idea of "judging" one's digital importance obnoxious, if not impossible. Several people have pointed out that it's possible to cheat the system by creating multiple accounts and thus being able to "game" your score pretty much makes most scores worthless [source: Chichester].

You can also do something sneaky with those accounts: give +K to yourself. Normally, you give +K (in other words, give Klout to) to someone who you see as influential. (You get 10 a day to hand out.) But if you have multiple accounts, you can just load your own Klout up. (This is also how Klout users have made conservative politician Rick Santorum a leading influencer on racism and homophobia.) In no time, you could have enough Klout for some Perks.

In one of the most significant controversies, it was discovered in 2011 that Klout was creating profiles for people not even registered to the service. Doesn't sound like that big of a deal, but when people started seeing their children listed as "influencers," concern arose. After a privacy policy change, Klout no longer creates profiles, but that doesn't mean it lets unregistered social network users off.

Let's just take it straight from Klout's privacy policy: "Our Services analyze data that is made available publicly through the Internet in order to measure influence and create a score ("Klout Score") for Internet users, including, but not limited to, our registered users" [source: Klout]. Get that? It means that if you have a public profile on Facebook or Twitter, guess what? Klout has given you a score. The unnerving part, for many, comes from knowing that a future employer can see your score. Even if you couldn't care less about your score (and aren't doing a thing to improve it), it appears for all intents and purposes to that employer that you're just no good at the digital future.

As you can see, controversies abound with Klout. To find out more information about how it works, find yourself making an impact on the next page.