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Privacy wizards for social networking sites

By Lujun Fang and Kristen Lefevre


Privacy is an enormous problem in online social networking sites. While sites such as Facebook allow users fine-grained control over who can see their profiles, it is difficult for average users to specify this kind of detailed policy. In this paper, we propose a template for the design of a social networking privacy wizard. The intuition for the design comes from the observation that real users conceive their privacy preferences (which friends should be able to see which information) based on an implicit set of rules. Thus, with a limited amount of user input, it is usually possible to build a machine learning model that concisely describes a particular user’s preferences, and then use this model to configure the user’s privacy settings automatically. As an instance of this general framework, we have built a wizard based on an active learning paradigm called uncertainty sampling. The wizard iteratively asks the user to assign privacy “labels ” to selected (“informative”) friends, and it uses this input to construct a classifier, which can in turn be used to automatically assign privileges to the rest of the user’s (unlabeled) friends. To evaluate our approach, we collected detailed privacy preference data from 45 real Facebook users. Our study revealed two important things. First, real users tend to conceive their privacy preferences in terms of communities, which can easily be extracted from a social network graph using existing techniques. Second, our active learning wizard, using communities as features, is able to recommend high-accuracy privacy settings using less user input than existing policy-specification tools

Topics: Usability, Active Learning
Year: 2010
OAI identifier: oai:CiteSeerX.psu:
Provided by: CiteSeerX
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