Privacy and Social Media

Please answer the following questions on a brief paragraphs based on the handouts given.
Exercise 1

1. What might companies or members of the public infer about members of your group based on what is publicly visible on their Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, TikTok, or other social media accounts? Consider not only what might be inferred from content you have posted, but also what might be inferred from facts about which friends you have, whom you have followed and who has followed you, which posts you have liked, and so forth. Are you comfortable with the amount of information about you that could be inferred based on your social media activity? Why or why not? You do not need to reveal any personal information that makes you feel uncomfortable to answer this question. If no members of your group have any social media accounts, answer this question by choosing a public Twitter or Instagram account and considering what you can infer about its owner.

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Exercise 2

Look at the supplementary file from Kosinski et al.’s paper, which lists the most predictive Facebook likes for each of the categories they studied. (The supplementary file is appended to this PDF.)

1. Which entries do you find most unsurprising? Why? Which do you find most surprising? Why?

2. Are there any entries which strike you as unfair, in the sense that it would be inappropriate to infer that a person belongs to the category in question on the basis of liking the page in question? Explain your reasoning.

Exercise 3

1. Liu et al.’s findings suggest that Facebook users have little awareness of the privacy settings of the content they post. What, in your opinion, is the most likely explanation for this fact?

2. Liu et al. suggest that Facebook users might be able to manage their privacy more effectively if they were given the option of sharing content with automatically detected networks of friends (see Section 5 of the paper). Do you believe this intervention would be effective? Why or why not?

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