Social media privacy

February 6, 2008 at 2:59 pm (social media) (, , )

Can I get a little privacy?Yesterday, I gave a brief presentation on a Web 2.0 service to the Advanced PR Writing class I am taking. I chose However, during the selection process at Go2Web2.0, I came across another service that posed a privacy issue.  

I was registering for Zookoda, a free e-mail marketing service for bloggers, when I was prompted to give personal account information. The service would not let me sign up without providing my physical address. Red flag! Granted, it wasn’t as serious as asking for my social security or bank account numbers, but it still seemed odd to me. For a service that is Internet-based, it should not need my address. 

In the last couple of years, Facebook has undergone huge privacy changes due to the increase of users and information options. I distinctly remember an outrage by users when they implemented the  news feed application with little privacy options. Luckily, the Facebook team immediately addressed and fixed it so users can choose how private they want their profiles.  

What I don’t understand is why social media services aren’t taking extra precaution when it comes to privacy before it becomes an issue. I personally do not post my address on Facebook for safety reasons. You can never be too careful.  

How do I know that Zookoda is a legitimate service when I sign up and not a hoax just to get addresses? Social media needs to be responsible and perform all the same precautions that online stores (that really need private information) do. 

On the other hand, you need to be aware of what you are signing up for. Your privacy is automatically lowered when you join the Internet, social media realm, but if you are careful, it won’t be an issue. Be responsible and selective. 

Don’t get me wrong, I think social media services are fantastic resources and tools – just don’t ask for my address if it’s not necessary.  

*Web 2.0 graphic courtesy of Flickr: Montara Mike©.  It was taken under the Creative Commons  license.



  1. Phil said,

    Zookoda is asking for your address so that they can add it to emails they send for CAN-SPAM compliance. My company’s service, FeedBlitz, uses our own address for this purpose, so we can be absolutely sure that any written opt out requests are handled prompty.



  2. Joyce said,

    Interesting question, but look back at your example. Imagine that Yelp actually cared about integrity and legitimacy of reviews. Address requirements help ensure review integrity (stop shills, one-time anonymous ‘hit’ reviews). So go back to when Yelp first started (you’ve never heard of it) and imagine you tried to sign up and they wouldn’t let you skip your address for the above reason… changes your perspective on that, doesn’t it?

  3. Gordon King said,

    Thanks for visiting our site and writing about it! Being online, I can understand the need for caution. That is actually a very important part of the reason we require the information we do. Because Zookoda is a fantastic & free online tool to reach out to a broad audience, we have staff dedicated to verifying the legitimacy of each new registered broadcaster. We verify folks provide us with valid info before allowing their broadcasts, emails, etc. Please check out our privacy policy or anti-spam policy for more info. We encourage folks to use our site (and any site, for that matter) only if they are comfortable in doing so. If you have any questions, you can send them through the Contact Us link at Thanks!

    Gordon King
    Manager, Customer Love

  4. Eileen Chang said,

    Thank you for all your comments!

    I researched a lot more about the CAN-SPAM Act of 2003 and find that it is required for an individual to post his or her postal address when sending out mass marketing e-mails. Although I do not fully understand how it validates an individual’s legitimacy, it is not to say it doesn’t. I will still have to do much more research into how the Act came about in order to create an argument.

    Phil from Feedblitz: I appreciate that you informed me of the CAN-SPAM Act. I actually was able to research it and understand the requests further.

    Gordon from Zookoda/IZEA: I think this a good example of how a company should respond to someone writing about them.

    Just as a suggestion, it might be a good idea to make that Act more transparent to registering users. All I had read was “spam compliance” and never connected it to the federal law. I think referencing it is a good, credible way to not deter people from using the service. I wanted to sign up for it because I thought it was great resource.

    Along with Joyce’s comment, now I would like to pose a question: Is there another way that services could validate an individual instead of using a postal address? If there is, maybe we should think about amending that Act.

    Thanks again and happy learning!


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