[UPDATE: We’ve enabled privacy controls for everyone now - just go in to “Facebook” or “Twitter” in your ThinkUp menu and choose whether everyone, or just you, can see insights for that account.]
Phew! We’re through the initial launch rush of ThinkUp and now we’re already hearing brilliant thoughts about what we should be working on to improve ThinkUp.
Today, we’ll outline the first feature we’re working on for ThinkUp, based entirely on requests from our community: Insight privacy.
Here’s what we heard:
- Many of you have some accounts on some services where your content is private or sensitive.
For some accounts, the insights that are generated aren’t information you’d want to share with the whole world.
You want to be able to change settings of privacy over time, as your needs change.
Some folks are worried about accidentally sharing insights from accounts that are private or semi-private.
These are all really clear, reasonable requests, and we have also learned a lot from the privacy features that have been in earlier versions of ThinkUp over the past few years.
Here’s how we’re thinking of introducing privacy on ThinkUp:
We’ll give you a simple control on each of your social network accounts that lets you determine whether insights for that Twitter or Facebook account are viewable by just you, or by the whole world.
We will never change the public/private status of your insights without your express action. Things that are private won’t “magically” surprise you by suddenly being shared.
We’ll automatically make sure insights that are private can only be seen by you, and can’t be shared by anyone. Private insights will be marked with a special “lock” icon.
We’ll make it easier to tell when you are logged in, so you can tell more readily whether you’re seeing every possible insight.
You will be able to easily change privacy settings on your accounts whenever you want.
Finally, here’s what we’re not doing yet, and why:
- We aren’t yet making it possible to stay logged in for a longer period of time. We hear loud and clear that many of you want this, and we do, too. But it’s a bigger project so we didn’t want to make privacy wait for that to be done.
We aren’t providing per-insight privacy controls. Very few people need controls that finicky and we think a per-account, per-service basis is the right balance of easy and useful.
We’re keeping insight streams public by default. But you can change them to private, with one click, right from where you add new accounts. There are several reasons for this, but ultimately one key factor was that public insights help people discover ThinkUp, which helps us grow the service. Most of our users are comfortable with that. And if you’re not, please don’t hesitate to mark your insights as private.
Our timing for releasing these changes is in the next few days, and the “lock” for private insights is in place already. If you have more specific requests around privacy controls or expectations in ThinkUp, email us at firstname.lastname@example.org or reply to @thinkup on Twitter, and we’ll be all ears.