Friend or Foe? Fake Profile Identification in Online Social Networks
The amount of personal information unwillingly exposed by users on online social networks is staggering, as shown in recent research. Moreover, recent reports indicate that these networks are infested with tens of millions of fake users profiles, which may jeopardize the users' security and privacy. To identify fake users in such networks and to improve users' security and privacy, we developed the Social Privacy Protector software for Facebook. This software contains three protection layers,
... ich improve user privacy by implementing different methods. The software first identifies a user's friends who might pose a threat and then restricts this "friend's" exposure to the user's personal information. The second layer is an expansion of Facebook's basic privacy settings based on different types of social network usage profiles. The third layer alerts users about the number of installed applications on their Facebook profile, which have access to their private information. An initial version of the Social Privacy Protection software received high media coverage, and more than 3,000 users from more than twenty countries have installed the software, out of which 527 used the software to restrict more than nine thousand friends. In addition, we estimate that more than a hundred users accepted the software's recommendations and removed at least 1,792 Facebook applications from their profiles. By analyzing the unique dataset obtained by the software in combination with machine learning techniques, we developed classifiers, which are able to predict which Facebook profiles have high probabilities of being fake and therefore, threaten the user's well-being. Moreover, in this study, we present statistics on users' privacy settings and statistics of the number of applications installed on Facebook profiles...