Social privacy protector-protecting users’ privacy in social networks

Michael Fire, Dima Kagan, Aviad Elishar, Yuval Elovici

Proc. of the Second International Conference on Social Eco-Informatics …, 2012

In recent years, online social networks have grown exponentially, as these networks are fantastic places to meet and network with people who share similar personal interests. Facebook, currently the largest social network, has more than 901 million active users. The amount of personal information each user exposes on social networks such as Facebook is staggering. Recent research in the area of social networking evaluated that many Facebook users exposed personal information. Due to the many security concerns regarding online personal exposure, we developed the Social Privacy Protector, a software which aims to improve the security and privacy of Facebook users. The software contains three protection layers which improve user privacy by implementing different methods. The software first identifies a user’s friends who might pose a threat, and then restricts the “friend”’s exposure 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 the user about the number of installed applications on their Facebook profile which have access to their private information. An initial version of the Social Privacy Protection software was evaluated on 74 Facebook users and successfully assisted them in restricting the access of 392 friends.