Student Awareness of the Privacy Implications When Using Facebook
Tabreez Govani firstname.lastname@example.org Harriet Pashley email@example.com
One of the first things that a new college freshman does upon entering Carnegie Mellon University (CMU) is create a profile for themselves on Facebook, a popular college social network. These profiles contain pictures, contact information such as cell phone numbers and residential location, sexual and political preferences, as well as a list of “friends.” Profiles are defaulted to be viewable by all Facebook users at your college as well as to “friends” at other universities. While Facebook is arguably convenient, it does present many privacy concerns. By conducting a pilot survey of Carnegie Mellon University Facebook users, we investigated student awareness of these issues and available privacy protection provided by Facebook. We have found that most students are aware of possible consequences of providing personally identifiable information to an entire university population, such as identity theft and stalking, but nevertheless feel comfortable providing it. Despite the overwhelming majority of survey participants knowing that they are able to limit who views their personal information, participants did not take the initiative to protect their information. We will begin our paper by explaining the background of Facebook and the motivations for our research. Secondly we will examine the research that has been done previously on online social networks and the Facebook. Next we will explain the method we used to conduct our survey and the results that we obtained. We will conclude with our evaluation of the results and possible avenues for future research. 2. Background and Motivation With the growing popularity of online social networks, more and more personal information is being displayed on websites. This is despite the fact that privacy groups advise Internet users not to “reveal personal details to...