The Project

I am going to be working on a project that Dr. Squicciarini has been supervising and developing for a while.

Basically, using game theory, the researchers constructed a model for how social network users might behave if they had to negotiate the privacy level for a certain piece of content. For example, if Facebook enacted a policy in which all users tagged in a certain photo had to agree on whether that photo would be visible to the entire public, just friends, etc. The algorithm takes into account two main influences on the privacy setting for a certain object: the user's original desire and peer pressure. Essentially, the algorithm predicts that the final decision for an objects's privacy setting is the mean of the original individual privacy settings that the users wanted.

Then, they conducted a study to determine whether the algorithm correctly predicts behavior. The study used a fake social networking site and asked users to decide on privacy settings for photos in groups of three. I am currently working with this data. We aim to analyze it in conjunction with the participants' survey responses.

Moving forward, we want to redesign the study to capture more nuanced data surrounding group privacy settings. We also hope to integrate the mathematic model in the revised study to test whether it will work in a less controlled setting.