Technical Report: An Analysis of Social Footprints Across Multiple Online Social Networks

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Chen, Terence; Kaafar, Dali; Friedman, Arik; Boreli, Roksana



Sydney, Australia

This report presents an empirical study of personal information revealed in public pro- files of people who use multiple Online Social Networks (OSNs). We first consider the number of publicly available attributes in such profiles based on various demographics and show a correlation between the amount of information revealed in OSN profiles and specific occupations and the use of pseudonyms. Then, we measure the complementarity of information across OSNs and contrast it with our observations about users who share a larger amount of information, showing that the increased level of information available may also be linked to user’s inclination rather than just the number of OSNs they are using. We also measure the consistency of information revelation patterns across OSNs, finding that users have preferred patterns when revealing information across OSNs. To evaluate the quality of aggregated profiles we introduce a consistency measure for attribute values, and show that aggregation also improves information granularity. We show there are more than 50% of matching attribute values across different OSNs for over 85% of the users in our dataset. Finally, taking Australian phone directory as a case study, we demonstrate how the availability of multiple OSN profiles can be exploited to improve the success of obtaining users’ detailed contact information, by cross-linking with publicly available data sources such as on-line phone directories. We show that the available aggregate OSN profile in- formation increases up to five times the number of Australian users who can be uniquely identified.

privacy; online social network; social footprint



Chen, Terence; Kaafar, Dali; Friedman, Arik; Boreli, Roksana. Technical Report: An Analysis of Social Footprints Across Multiple Online Social Networks. 2012-08-01. <a href="" target="_blank"></a>

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