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New App Developed to Deal with Facebook Privacy Issues

Update Date: Jul 06, 2012 12:21 PM EDT
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Social media has been on the rise and has many uses for a variety of different people. The President can reach out to the people for opinion and people can connect with their favorite celebrities right from their living room couch. With social media comes the issue of trying to protect privacy - especially those of children.

Researchers say that have developed a new fix for Facebook's privacy issues. According to undergraduate researchers at Ben-Gurion University of the Negev (BGU), their new development - the Social Privacy Protector - can help parents adjust their children's profiles in one click, prevent criminals from garnering valuable personal information and keep teens safe from pedophiles.

The researchers say the SPP application "reviews a user's friends list in seconds to identify which have few or no mutual links and might be 'fake' profiles." The app analyzes each friend and scores the "connectedness" to every friend. It flags the lowest scores as suspicious and asks whether the friend should be restricted from personal user information, but doesn't defriend them.

Michael Fire a Ph.D. candidate in BGU's Department of Information Systems Engineering, said that an important feature of the app is the ability for parents to better protect their kids' privacy with just one click instead of having to navigate the more complicated Facebook privacy settings.

"While Facebook encourages connecting with as many people as possible, we advocate limiting users, and have, for the first time, provided an algorithm to scientifically determine who to remove from friend lists," Fire said. "Predators rely on people friending anyone, and with teens now allowed to have Facebook accounts, we believe that our solution can provide necessary protection for all users."

The SPP app also notifies the user about the applications installed on their profile that could threaten his or her privacy.

The free software is available as a Facebook app for all browsers, and as an add-on for Firefox. The paper has been submitted for publication.

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