ACE Seminar: Not Even Past: Longitudinal Privacy in Online Social Networks

Speaker: Dr Eran Toch

Date/Time: 10-Jun-2016, 15:00 UTC

Venue: Roberts 508




Online social networks (OSNs) make information accessible for unlimited periods of time and provide easy access to past information by arranging information in timelines or by providing sophisticated search mechanisms. Despite increased concerns over long term digital memory, there is little knowledge about retrospective privacy: the extent to which the age of the exposed information affects sharing preferences. In the talk, I will describe two studies, the first with 193 participants and the second with 272 participants, which investigated how information aging impacts the users’ sharing preferences on Facebook, the largest online social network. Our results quantify how willingness to share decreases with the aging of older posts, and show that older posts have lower relevancy to the user’s social network and are less representative of the user’s identity. We show that changes in the user’s social circles, the occurrence of significant life changes (such as graduating from college) and a user’s young age are correlated with a further decrease in the willingness to keep sharing past information. We discuss our findings by framing digital memory in privacy theories and suggest a vision for mechanisms that can help users manage longitudinal privacy.


Joint work with Ms. Oshrat Ayalon




Eran is a member of the faculty of Engineering at Tel-Aviv University, at the department of Industrial Engineering. His research is in the field of human-computer interaction, privacy and security, and artificial intelligence. Eran’s research group is now working on various projects that revolve around computationally analysis of human behavior, and applying this knowledge to solve real-world privacy and security challenges. The group is funded by various agencies, including the EU Horizon 2020 program, DARPA, the Israeli Science Foundation, and the Israeli Ministry of Science. Prior to joining Tel Aviv University, Eran was a post-doc fellow at the Carnegie Mellon University, School of Computer Science. Eran has a Ph.D. from the Technion – Israel Institute of Technology.

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