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For Your Eyes Only. Are there alternatives to the consensual exploitation on social media? Vincent Toubiana (Bell Labs France). How to prevent content exploitation on Facebook?. There is a really simple solution. Copy/past that text. Reflect some growing concerns

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For Your Eyes Only

Are there alternatives to the consensual exploitation on social media?

Vincent Toubiana (Bell Labs France)

How to prevent content exploitation on Facebook?

  • There is a really simple solution.

    • Copy/past that text.

  • Reflect some growing concerns

    • Focused on User Generated Content,

    • Addressed to agencies/institutions,

    • The new one mentions commercial use.

June 2012

November 2012

Facebook Privacy Trends

  • List of Facebook main criticisms:

    • News feed (September 5, 2006)

    • Beacon (November 2007)

    • Content ownership (February 2009)

    • Default setting modification (December 2009- May 2010)

    • Open graph protocol (April 2010)

    • Micro targeting (October 2010)

    • Tracking cookies in Like button (October 2010)

    • Facial recognition (June 2011)

    • Timeline (September 2011)

    • Custom audience (September 2012)


Default settings

Like button

Content ownership




Tag suggestion


  • Most of these features only aim at increasing user participation to the social network and develop user base.

  • As a side effect users are paying less attention to Facebook tracking.

How are private data used for monetization

  • What information Facebook uses to target ads

    • Targeting options too accurate (Micro-targeting [1]),

    • Retargeting based on email address, phone numbers,

    • Uses of applications and likes.

  • Advertising is not based on Generated Content but on declared data and Web-tracking.

  • Use of private messages to inflate ‘Like’ [2]

    • Done via personal message sharing,

    • Did not seem to violate user expectations.

[1] Korolova, Aleksandra. "Privacy violations using microtargeted ads: A case study." Data Mining Workshops (ICDMW), 2010 IEEE International Conference on. IEEE, 2010.

[2] How private are your private messages?

Existing Alternate Business Models

  • Facebook does not rely exclusively on advertising

    • Payment generates 14 percent of the revenue in 2012.

      • With facebook connect used everywhere, could Facebook become a new paypal?

    • Facebook Gifts represents promising source of revenue.

      • Significant impact on Facebook share.

      • Facebook knows what you could offer to your friend,

        • Avoid providing unwanted recommendations (Target mistake).

Existing Alternate Business Models

  • Service subscription:



  • Pay to follow


    • User pay to subscribe to others feed

      • Mostly useful for celebrities.

      • How to handle content duplication?

      • Users unlikely to pay for subscription at this point.

Existing Alternate Business Models

  • Linked-In subscriptions:

    • Provide premium access to some services

    • Offers for recruiters & job seekers

      • 13 subscription plans (5$ - 299$/month),

      • Enable premium access to user profiles,

      • More frequents updates.

Technical Solutions to the Ownership Problem

  • Distributed social networks

    • Enforce User Control over their data,

    • Specific Business models.

      • Pay to host

      • Advertising chosen by your friends to target you

    • Address vertical privacy issues,

    • Address some “lateral privacy” issues (i.e. settings update),

    • Create other issues, and not simple to use [1].

  • Obfuscation

    • Pollute the service provider with limited effect on your social-network,

    • Possible by combining Access Control Policy.

  • Privacy Friendly widgets

    • Alternatives to the like button that track you only when you click on it,

    • Mozilla Social API could preserve users' privacy.

  • [1] Narayanan, Arvind, et al. "A Critical Look at Decentralized Personal Data Architectures." network 25: 8.

    Go viral to enforce user privacy

    • People are looking for simple solutions

      • Example: Privacy notice

        • Interestingly, 1M+ people had that notice posted publicly on their timeline or info page,

        • Users are looking for simple solutions.

      • Could work in some cases, ask user to change settings, vote

        • Disable public access to your data,

        • Limit instant-personalization [1].

    • Effects of viral posts:

      • Regulation,

      • Competition between social network

        • See Facebook changes after the release of Google+

    [1] Arvind Narayanan, “The Anatomy of a Privacy meme”,

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