Friend or foe? Fake profile identification in online social networks

Michael Fire, Dima Kagan, Aviad Elyashar, Yuval Elovici

Social Network Analysis and Mining 4, 1-23, 2014

The amount of personal information involuntarily exposed by users on online social networks is staggering, as shown in recent research. Moreover, recent reports indicate that these networks are inundated with tens of millions of fake user profiles, which may jeopardize the user’s security and privacy. To identify fake users in such networks and to improve users’ security and privacy, we developed the Social Privacy Protector (SPP) software for Facebook. This software contains three protection layers that improve user privacy by implementing different methods to identify fake profiles. The first layer identifies a user’s friends who might pose a threat and then restricts the access these “friends” have to the user’s personal information. The second layer is an expansion of Facebook’s basic privacy settings based on different types of social network usage profiles. The third layer alerts users about the number of …