Digg: Your Privacy is an Illusion
But are they secure?
As Digg becomes more of a social network and less of a social news network (or a hybrid that incorporates both elements), it has a lot of obstacles it needs to face. Besides major usability issues, duplicate stories submissions, and ads that literally scream at you, Digg has yet another issue to deal with: privacy.
Ben pinged me earlier today with a very interesting observation. It turns out that your shouts are not private after all, even if you keep them absolutely hidden. Your friends can see them. Actually, anyone can see them, even if they’re not logged in.
Allow me to illustrate. My current Digg settings prohibit anyone from seeing my Digg shouts.
My shouts are blocked for everyone to see, and to ensure this, I’ve saved this selection multiple times.
When I go to my profile, Digg makes a clear assertion that I want my shouts kept private. But look at that red arrow.
Simply click on that arrow and get access to any shouts, even if the users turned it off. Don’t believe me? Click on this link.
I notice that this is only the case for some accounts (but not all). In my observations, 3 of 5 profiles showed the shout wall behind a “Sorry! XXX has decided to keep their shouts private” message. I’m sure that means that it’s a big problem for many people, which means it’s still a problem even though it doesn’t affect everyone. In the meantime, you should be wary of allowing anything personal sent to you by any individuals from being made public, such as email addresses you haven’t put on your public profile, screen names, and other identifiable information that you’d rather keep to yourself. If you must, check your shout wall on another browser where you’re not logged in. Delete whatever shouldn’t be there regularly, or just disable shouts altogether.
Hopefully Digg will start addressing the aforementioned issue in addition to the other usability issues that plague the system. It’s much more important to make the usability experience more pleasurable — but for some reason, that just doesn’t seem to be on their agenda lately. I think this is one of those issues that needs to be addressed in addition to the customer service issues before they actually sell.
Update: Jay Adelson of Digg chimed in on the Digg submission and informs us that it’s fixed. Indeed it is. I have to thank Digg for quickly addressing and resolving this problem, though I hope you still have the other concerns your users have addressed on your agenda!