People Dots and Privacy

Have you tried out the new People Dots feature yet? Our last post covered the benefits of our newest feature – which gives you the ability to label pictures of friends and public figures with their social profile from Twitter or Facebook. When we created People Dots we thought carefully about the implications of making it possible to bring social tags to the open web – beyond the walls of social networks – and we tried to anticipate the concerns publishers and their site visitors might have when it comes to privacy.

We started by honoring the privacy guidelines already set out by Twitter and Facebook. When a site visitor mouses over an image containing People Dots, the visitor can only see publicly the available social networking information of the person labeled in the photo. In practice, this means that even if a person using Stipple is your friend on Facebook or your follower on Twitter, but that person has protected their Tweets or restricted the views of their Facebook profile, then Stipple will not display information that they’ve chosen to keep private. Here’s a full description of how we designed People Dots with an eye on safeguarding privacy:

Facebook

If Stipple user John wants to tag Christina in a photo, then John must be Christina’s friend on Facebook in order to label her using Stipple.  If Christina is not John’s friend on Facebook, then John cannot use Stipple to label Christina with her Facebook profile. Likewise, if you want to connect a People Dot to someone’s Facebook account, you first must be friends with that person on Facebook.

Twitter

Twitter has a different privacy model than Facebook. On Facebook, the process of ‘friending’ is two-way; someone must request a friend connection and the other party must approve it.  On Twitter, the process of following is one-way. If your Tweets are public, a person need only ‘follow’ or use one of many tools available to view your updates.  For these reasons, if John simply follows Christina on Twitter, he can tag her in a photo with a People Dot using her Twitter account.

Consider adding People Dots with Twitter profile info to your images that feature celebrities or public figures, since they are already sharing their updates with a wide audience and you can bring that directly to your site visitors. We hope you’ll imagine new ways to use Stipple. For example, if you have a food blog or website and post an image of Anthony Bourdain, you can give your visitors a bonus by adding a Stipple People Dot with his latest updates. Maybe add a dot to that tasty snack you featured on your site from a local bakery or a dot with social updates for that pic you snapped of your favorite band?

Opting Out

Lastly, if a person has been labeled in a photo, they have the option of removing the People Dot.  Clicking “view all” in the bottom right of their People Dot will take that person to a page where they can manage all photos in which they’ve been labeled, including the option to delete.

Hopefully this goes without saying, but we value open conversations with our user community and hope to improve our products with your feedback. Let us know what you think about the People Dots feature and privacy by weighing in here.