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The Privacy Problem in Big Data Applications: An Empirical Study on Facebook
  • Jerzy Surma, Warsaw School of Economics
When using mobile phones, credit cards, electronic mail, browsing social networks etc., contemporary consumers leave behind thousands of digital footprints. Each footprint reflects actual actions that we take in given place and time. The analysis of thousands of such footprints conducted among large groups of people allows us to examine human behavior on a scale that has never been imagined in scientific studies concerning psychology and sociology. The results of those analyses already have a significant influence on contemporary management, especially when it comes to new business opportunities in companies that employ business models based on the one-to-one relations with their customers. Nevertheless, this outstanding opportunity implies an enormous privacy problem. We will illustrate this issue by an empirical research based on the data gathered from Facebook, where users are using privacy controls that allow displaying their content only to a selected group of people. Users of such controls will likely continue positing more, even as their network grows or becomes sparser. We test these predictions using a dataset from Facebook gathered from a sample of college students and find statistical support for them. Our conclusions are that individuals are relatively prudent and are actually very aware of the social norms.
Publication Date
Summer September 8, 2013
ASE/IEEE International Conference on Social Computing, Washington D.C., 09/08-14/2013
Citation Information
Jerzy Surma. "The Privacy Problem in Big Data Applications: An Empirical Study on Facebook" (2013)
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