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A method of editing the privacy settings of social networking sites on the fly and previewing the page content for the changed settings

IP.com Disclosure Number: IPCOM000183560D
Original Publication Date: 2009-May-27
Included in the Prior Art Database: 2009-May-27
Document File: 5 page(s) / 167K

Publishing Venue

IBM

Abstract

Social networking sites become more and more popular, especially among teenagers and young adults. Although different social networking sites provide different features, they all allow the users to provide information about themselves. Some sites even encourage the users to provide a certain amount of personal information to promote friendships. Most of the users tailor their pages for their friends to read, forgetting that the internet is a public resource. The nature of the social networking sites definitely introduces security risks. Many of the sites allow the user to edit his privacy/security criteria by setting the privacy level for his profile attributes. The privacy settings will help the user to decide how much information to reveal to his friends, to the communities and sub groups which he signs up, but there is no way for the user to visualize what his page will look like for other people based on his privacy/security settings. When the user opens an account on the social networking sites, he may not quite understand the privacy and security practices of the sites and sometime he will set the criteria randomly. He does not realize how much his sensitive personal information will be browsed by other people. Later when he wants to share some photos and post some diary entries to impress his friends, he normally forgets to check or modify his initial privacy/security settings. Also it is very difficult for the user to remember his settings for each field especially when there are more than two or three categories of social connections because of the complexity of choosing and previewing even a simple view/hide state for each field/category intersection. What is needed is an easy way to visualize what folks of different relationships will see when visiting ones site. We propose a visualization method that allows the user to view how others would see their page based on their privacy settings. We also allow the users to modify the access controls policy on the fly on the selected content. In addition to impose access control on each content block (the minimum unit of content areas), we also propose to allow users to further mark content segments within the block(unit) and either hide them or supply different personalized content for each access group. With our proposal, the friends, group, subgroup, and networks etc. can also be managed and navigated visually.

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A method of editing the privacy settings of social networking sites on the fly and previewing the page content for the changed settings

Social networking sites have become popular, especially among teenagers and young adults. Although different social networking sites provide different features, they all allow the user to provide information about themselves. Some sites even encourage the user to provide personal information to promote friendships. Most of the users tailor their pages for their friends to read, forgetting that the internet is a public resource. The nature of the social networking sites definitely introduces security risks.

Many of the sites allow the user to edit his privacy/security criteria by setting the privacy level for his profile attributes. The privacy settings will help the user decide how much information to reveal to his friends, to the communities and sub groups with which he signs up, but there is no way for the user to visualize what his page will look like for other people based on his privacy/security settings. When the user opens an account on a social networking site, he may not quite understand the privacy and security practices of the site and sometimes he will set the criteria randomly. He may not realize how much this sensitive personal information will be browsed by other people. Later when he wants to share some photos and post some diary entries to impress his friends, he normally forgets to check or modify his initial privacy/security settings.

Also, it is very difficult for the user to remember the settings for each field, especially when there are more than two or three categories of social connections because of the complexity of choosing and previewing even a simple view/hide state for each field/category intersection.

What is needed is an easy way to visualize what folks of different relationships will see when visiting ones site.

Disclosed herein is a visualization method that allows a user to view how others would see their page based on their privacy settings. A user is allowed to modify the access control policy on the fly on the selected content. In addition, to impose access control on each content block (the minimum unit of content areas), a user is also allowed to further mark content segments within the block (unit) and either hide them or supply different personalized content for each access group. With this proposal, the friends, group, subgroup, and networks, etc. can also be managed and navigated visually.

Two additional modes are proposed for visualizing the page content on behavior of a different viewer within the owner's social network: preview and edit. When the user selects preview mode (for example, the user clicks a Preview button on the policy editing page, Figure 1), he will see the real time page content for the selected friend, sub network,...