Get access

CoPE: Enabling collaborative privacy management in online social networks



Online Social Networks (OSNs) facilitate the creation and maintenance of interpersonal online relationships. Unfortunately, the availability of personal data on social networks may unwittingly expose users to numerous privacy risks. As a result, establishing effective methods to control personal data and maintain privacy within these OSNs have become increasingly important. This research extends the current access control mechanisms employed by OSNs to protect private information shared among users of OSNs. The proposed approach presents a system of collaborative content management that relies on an extended notion of a “content stakeholder.” A tool, Collaborative Privacy Management (CoPE), is implemented as an application within a popular social-networking site,, to ensure the protection of shared images generated by users. We present a user study of our CoPE tool through a survey-based study (n=80). The results demonstrate that regardless of whether Facebook users are worried about their privacy, they like the idea of collaborative privacy management and believe that a tool such as CoPE would be useful to manage their personal information shared within a social network.