Socialcam closes hole that enabled accidental sharing

The popular video-sharing app responds to complaint from privacy advocate.

Socialcam changes are designed to help people avoid oversharing of videos on social media sites.
Socialcam changes are designed to help people avoid oversharing of videos on social media sites.

Popular video-sharing app Socialcam has made changes that are designed to prevent inadvertent sharing of videos, a privacy advocate says.

Socialcam representatives did not respond to an e-mail seeking comment, but Jules Polonetsky, director of The Future of Privacy Forum, told CNET that the app maker informed him that they were making some changes to address concerns he had brought up to them.

"Two weeks ago I saw a rabbi in my network share a bikini-type video" using Socialcam, Polonetsky said. "Facebook posts are full of friends clicking to view these videos" that were no doubt mistakenly shared.

The "social mode" feature that used to automatically turn itself to "on" when you visited the Socialcam Web site has been modified so that it now stays "off" on both the browser and the Web site when a user switches it off, as well as when a user switches browsers or logs out, Polonetsky writes in a post on the Future of Privacy Forum Facebook page that includes additional changes. MediaPost also reported on the changes.

"Kudos to these guys for both responding quickly -- with a tiny team of developers, while their apps were picking up millions of new users a day," Polonetsky writes. "Will the changes make a difference? The one thing we have learnt over the years is that privacy folks (or policymakers or developers) are not consumer experience experts. A notice may seem logical to us, but to users it is a confusing UI. Testing with actual users is the only way to tell."

Socialcam was listed as the No. 1 free app on the iOS App Store two weeks ago.

About the author

Elinor Mills covers Internet security and privacy. She joined CNET News in 2005 after working as a foreign correspondent for Reuters in Portugal and writing for The Industry Standard, the IDG News Service, and the Associated Press. E-mail Elinor.


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