Your Privacy Is Your Friend's Privacy: Examining Interdependent Information Disclosure on Online Social Networks

Alsarkal, Yaqoub
Zhang, Nan
Xu, Heng
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The highly interactive nature of interpersonal communication on online social networks (OSNs) impels us to think about privacy as a communal matter, with users' private information being revealed by not only their own voluntary disclosures, but also the activities of their social ties. The current privacy literature has identified two types of information disclosures in OSNs: self-disclosure, i.e., the disclosure of an OSN user's private information by him/herself; and co-disclosure, i.e., the disclosure of the user's private information by other users. Although co-disclosure has been increasingly identified as a new source of privacy threat inherent to the OSN context, few systematic attempts have been made to provide a framework for understanding the commonalities and distinctions between self- vs. co-disclosure, especially pertaining to different types of private information. To address this gap, this paper presents a data-driven study that builds upon an innovative measurement for quantifying the extent to which others' co-disclosure could lead to actual privacy harm. The results demonstrate the significant harm caused by co-disclosure and illustrate the differences between the identity elements revealed through self- and co-disclosure.
Data Analytics in Behavioral Research, Online Social Networks (OSNs), Interdependent Information Disclosure, Information Privacy
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