Friend or Foe on Facebook
June 27, 2012
Facebook is a “friendly” place; the purpose of Facebook is to share information with friends. For many users, especially young ones, amassing friends is a major activity, and it isn’t unusual to find teens with more than 1,000 friends.
But, social networks can be magnets for not only friends, but fiends, such as pedophiles, child molesters, and other abominable types. Until now, it’s been very difficult, if not impossible, to ferret the phonies out.
Now a team of researchers from BGU’s Social Networks Security Group – Prof. Yuval Elovici, Ph.D. student Michael Fire, and software developer students Dima Kagan and Aviad Elishar – have created Social Privacy Protector (SPP).
This Facebook app helps users, and the parents of young users, keep undesirable false friends from accessing the kind of personal information people readily share on the site.
How does it work? SPP does deep analysis of a user’s connections and friends, determining what organic groups they belong to, how often they communicate, the nature of their posts, who responds to them, and other factors.
When it is done analyzing, SPP gives a “connectedness score” to each of a user’s contacts. The lower the score, the more “suspicious” the connection. The app lists the connections that scored low, and recommends defriending them.