Usage and Consequences of Privacy Settings in Microblogs

Elena Daehnhardt, Nicholas Kenelm Taylor, Yanguo Jing

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contribution

3 Citations (Scopus)
94 Downloads (Pure)


Twitter facilitates borderless communication, in- forming us about real-life events and news. To address privacy needs, Twitter provides various security settings. However, users with protected profiles are limited to their friendship circles and thus might have less visibility from outside of their networks. Previous research on privacy reveals information leakage and security threats in social networks despite of privacy protection enabled. In this context, could protecting mi- croblogging content be counterproductive for individual users? Would microbloggers use Twitter more effectively when open- ing their content for everyone rather than protecting their pro- files? Are user profile protection features necessary? We wanted to address this controversy by studying how microbloggers exploit privacy and geo-location setting controls. We followed a set of user profiles during half of year and compared their usage of Twitter features including status updates, favorites, being listed, adding friends and follower contacts. Our findings revealed that protecting user accounts is not always detrimental to exploiting the main microblogging features. Additionally, we found that users across geographic regions have different privacy preferences. Our results enable us to get insights into privacy issues in microblogs, underlining the need of respecting user privacy in microblogs. We suggest to further research user privacy controls usage in order to understand user goals and motivations for sharing and disclosing their microblogging data online with the focus on user cultural origins.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationComputer and Information Technology; Ubiquitous Computing and Communications; Dependable, Autonomic and Secure Computing; Pervasive Intelligence and Computing (CIT/IUCC/DASC/PICOM), 2015 IEEE International Conference on
Number of pages8
ISBN (Print)978-1-5090-0153-8
Publication statusPublished - 26 Oct 2015


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