A Trust based Privacy Providing Model for Online Social Networks

Nadav Voloch, Nurit Gal-Oz, Ehud Gudes

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

10 Scopus citations


Online Social Networks (OSN) have become a central means of communication and interaction between people around the world. The essence of privacy has been challenged through the past two decades as technological advances enabled benefits and social visibility to active members that share content in online communities. While OSN users share personal content with friends and colleagues, they are not always fully aware of the potential unintentional exposure of their information to various people including adversaries, social bots, fake users, spammers, or data-harvesters. Preventing this information leakage is a key objective of many security models developed for OSNs including Access Control, Relationship based models, Trust based models and Information Flow control. Following previous research, we assert that a combined approach is required to overcome the shortcoming of each model. In this paper we present a new model to protect users' privacy that is composed of three main phases addressing three of its major aspects: trust, role-based access control and information flow. This model considers a user's sub-network and classifies the user's direct connections to roles. It relies on public information such as total number of friends, age of user account, and friendship duration to characterize the quality of the network connections. It also evaluates trust between a user and members of the user's network to estimates if these members are acquaintances or adversaries based on the paths of the information flow between them. Finally, it provides more precise and viable information sharing decisions and enables better privacy control in the social network. We have evaluated our model with extensive experiments using both synthetic and real users' networks to demonstrate its ability to provide a naïve user with a good means of privacy protection. We have validated separately every phase of the model and examined the decisions obtained by two different approaches. The results show a strong correlation between the decisions made by the algorithm and the users' decisions.

Original languageEnglish
Article number100138
JournalOnline Social Networks and Media
StatePublished - 1 Jul 2021


  • Access Control
  • Information Flow control
  • Privacy in Online Social networks
  • Role based security models
  • Trust based security models

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Information Systems
  • Communication
  • Computer Networks and Communications


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