Alan Mislove is an Assistant Professor at the College of Computer and Information Science at Northeastern University.
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Privacy in Online Social Networks
The sharing of user profiles and end-user-generated content has emerged as a popular activity over online social networks like Facebook. This content is used on the sites as a basis for grouping users, for sharing content, and for suggesting users who may benefit from interaction. As a result, the issue of online social network privacy has received significant attention in both the research literature and the mainstream media. In this talk, I provide an overview of my group's work on social networking privacy. First, I present a study of users' understanding of their privacy settings, quantifying the magnitude of the problem of managing privacy. We deploy a survey, implemented as a Facebook application, to 200 Facebook users recruited via Amazon Mechanical Turk. We find that users' expectations match reality less than half of the time, and when incorrect, almost always expose content to more users than expected. Second, I present a study of the leakage of implicit data on online social networks. Due to homophily, linking to a friend often reveals information about the user himself; we show that hidden user attributes can be inferred with high accuracy even when as few as 20% of users provide them. I conclude with an brief description of my group's work studying Twitter, focused on exploring how geography (both self-reported and automatically collected) can be used as a tool for better understanding online social networks.
Alan Mislove is an Assistant Professor at the College of Computer and Information Science at Northeastern University. He received his Ph.D. from Rice University in 2009, and was a postdoctoral researcher at the Max Planck Institute for Software Systems (MPI-SWS) in the summer of 2009. Prof. Mislove’s research concerns distributed systems and networks, with a focus on using social networks to enhance the security, privacy, and efficiency of newly emerging systems. He is a recipient of an NSF CAREER Award (2011), and his work has been covered by the Wall Street Journal, the New York Times, and the CBS Evening News.