Heather Richter Lipford

Improving Privacy on Social Network Sites

Users of social network sites have a variety of mechanisms and features that they use for managing their privacy, such as choosing who to friend, how to group friends, and with whom to share photos. Yet, while users are considering what is safe and acceptable to share, they can easily overlook the reach of their information and accidentally disclose more than intended. To cope, users employ a variety of behaviors outside of the interface, such as self-censoring or only posting positive thoughts. We have developed a number of prototypes to manage the privacy of various aspects of social network sites, such as profile privacy settings, photos, and third party applications. For each of these, we sought to provide users with greater awareness of how information is being shared, and greater control over that sharing.