Social networking technology firm Gigya is launching a new privacy seal of approval for Web companies that people use to register and sign in through Facebook, Twitter or other social media platforms.
The SocialPrivacy Certification Seal aims to assure consumers that their activity won't be blasted to their Facebook friends or Twitter followers without their consent. To obtain a seal, publishers must promise to refrain from selling user social data, posting to social feeds without permission, engage in social data-based email marketing campaigns without permission, and sending private messages to users' friends without permission.
Companies expected to display the seal at launch include Martha Stewart Omnimedia, Finish Line (which operates run.com), Canadian newspaper The Globe and Mail and LUSH Cosmetics.
Gigya CEO Patrick Salyer estimates that hundreds of thousands of sites allow consumers to sign on with the same user names they already use at Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and other companies with social media platforms. But he says many consumers hesitate to do so due to fear that publishers will share data about them.
Salyer says that a recent Gigya survey of around 2,600 Web users revealed that 41% of consumers don't use a social log-in because they are worried that information about their Web activity will be shared with social networks. Nearly that many -- 40% -- said they don't use social log-ins because they don't know how their personal information will be used, according to Salyer.
At the same time, the survey found that most users -- 55% -- have logged in with social media credentials at least once, often because they don't want to create new user names and passwords.
Gigya also has formed the Privacy and Safety Advisory Board, which will be chaired by Jules Polonetsky, who serves as director of the think tank Future of Privacy Forum. Other members include ConnectSafely co-director Anne Collier, Stanford Law's Omer Tene, and Gigya acting chief privacy officer Jill Nissen.
Facebook, Twitter and other social networking platforms already require publishers using social log-ins to refrain from selling members' data. But the SocialPrivacy Seal conveys that promise to users -- which means that publishers who violate those promises could be on the hook for engaging in deceptive practices, Polonetsky says.
Gigya intends to audit publishers that carry its privacy seal. Salyer says the service will probably cost publishers between $500 and $1,000 a month.