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					Social Networks: Facebook
                By: Justin Wilkerson

       “Facebook Grows Up” by Steven Levy
“Information Revelation and Privacy in Online Social
Networks (The Facebook Case)” by Ralph Gross and
                Alessandro Acquisti
          History of Facebook
• Founded by Harvard student Mark Zuckerberg,
  in February 2004
• In August 2005 thefacebook was officially called
  Facebook, and the domain was
  purchased for $200,000 Only could access
  Facebook if you had a valid college email (high
  school students granted access September
• September 11,2006, open enrollment policy
• Just like Google, Facebook generates revenue
  through advertisements
       Online Social Networks
• Dates back to 1960’s
• Social software Weblog groups 9 categories:
  business (i.e., common
  interests (i.e., dating
  (, friends (i.e.,
  pets (i.e., photos (i.e.,
  face-to-face facilitation (i.e.,
  MoSoSo (mobile-social-software), edge cases
  social networking plus (i.e.
• Sites offer core features like “Profiles” and the
  ability for users to be contacted or contact others
      Information Revelation
• Social networking sites share the basic
  purpose of online communication, but
  goals and usage patterns are different
  from each other
• The use of real names of its users is
  encouraged by many of the sites like
  Facebook, but sites like MySpace most
  users do not use their real names all the
• Information can be revealed often by
  hobbies and common interests
  – Semi-public info. Such as previous schools
    and work places
  – Private Info. Like drinking and or smoking
  – And open-ended entries
                   Cont. 2
• Visibility is a high variable on online social
  – Some sites allow you to view other users
  – Some sites allow users to limit what others
  – Such Visibility is privacy controls are updated
    each day, like on Facebook
                     Cont. 3
• Across these different sites, more and
  more users are giving out personal
  – Personal Email addresses
     • AIM, Yahoo, etc.
  – Phone numbers
  – Current Residence
  The Social Network Theory and
• Relationship between a person’s social
  network and privacy can be multi-factored
• In some cases, users want their info. to
  circulate throughout smaller online
  communities and not to strangers
• In others, users will be willing to open their
  private info. to strangers, but to the ones
  they better than others
• Many of social networking sites are of
  college age
  – College oriented social networks because
    these networks offer wealth of personal data
    of potentially great value to outside viewers
    and critics
  – Since many college social networks require
    college email accounts, to increase to sense
    of trust and intimacy throughout the online
                The Study
• June 2005, Gross and Acquisti
  downloaded 4540 Carnegie Mellon
  University (CMU) Facebook profiles
• Demographics:
  – 73.7% were under-grads
  – 60.4% male versus 39.2% female
  – 95.6% of users fall into the 18-24 age range
Types and Amounts of Info.
      Data Visibility and Privacy
• Facebook gives users opportunity to
  control their own searchability and visibility
  – “Sociological theories have noted how an
    individual may selectively disclose personal
    info. To others in order to establish some
    different degrees of trust and intimacy with
  – Facebook Data Access
          Privacy Implications
• Privacy Features are provided by many social
  networks, especially with Facebook, but users
  rarely use these features
• The main result of users not taking advantage of
  the privacy outlines, is “stalking”, 860 profiles
  revealed their current residence, at least 2
  classes they were attending, and phone number
  – Most of the of online networks are stalked using AOL
    instant messenger (AIM), because AIM allows users
    to add buddies/friends without any notification. 77.7%
    of all these studied profiles contained an AIM screen
         Cont. Re-Identification
• “Data re-identification typically deals with the
  linkage of datasets without explicit identifiers
  such as name and address to datasets with
  explicit identifiers through common attributes.”
   – A large number of the US population can be re-
     identified using a zip code, gender, and date of birth.
   – 45.8% of Facebook users list their birthday, current
     residence, and gender, making them able to be re-
   – By this info. being in users profiles, hackers can take
     their birth date, zip code, and so forth, to estimate
     what their Social Security Number is.
• Facebook has become the social network
  king… and is about to put itself on the in
  the stock market world.
• There are many risks to using Facebook
  (i.e. stalking)
• Studies show that there is a lot of private
  info. Leakage using Facebook as well as
  other social networks

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