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Multiparty Privacy in Social Media

Multiparty Privacy in Social Media, illustration

Credit: Peter Crowther Associates;

Over two billion users consume social media to build and participate in online social networks (OSNs), uploading and sharing hundreds of billions of data items.15 OSNs are not only huge in scale, they are predicted to keep growing in the coming years both in the number of users and in the amount of data users upload and share. The vast amount of data in social media is user-generated and personal most of the time, which clearly calls for appropriate privacy preservation mechanisms that allow users to benefit from social media while adequately protecting their personal information. Protecting users' privacy is not only essential to respect the Universal Declaration of Human Rights but also to serve as a first line of defense to mitigate cybercrime and other illegal activities that leverage the data obtained due to privacy breaches in social media, such as social phishing, identity theft, cyberstalking, and cyberbullying.

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There have been many efforts devoted to study privacy in social media and how to protect users' personal information since the very early days of social media, such as explored by Gross and Acquisti.10 However, most of these efforts have focused on privacy from an individual point of view. For instance, advances include research9 and industry16 efforts on helping individual users better target their audience by modeling different relationships and social circles beyond the binary friendship model that is prevalent in most social media. While this has indeed helped to advance the state of the art on the topic, the problem of content affecting the privacy of more than one user at the same time has received little attention.


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