[Air-L] Facebook Data of 1.2 Million Users from 2005 Released

Michael Zimmer zimmerm at uwm.edu
Tue Feb 15 09:38:57 PST 2011

Dear AoIR-ers:  

Some might be interested in this Facebook dataset release, and the issues I raise regarding its "anonymization".  


Facebook Data of 1.2 Million Users from 2005 Released: Limited Exposure, but Very Problematic

Recently, a Facebook dataset was released consisting of the complete set of users from the Facebook networks at 100 American institutions, and all of the in-network “friendship” links between those users as they existed at a single moment of time in September 2005. Surprisingly, it initially included each users unique Facebook ID, meaning the presumed “anonymous” dataset could be easily re-identified, potentially putting the personal information of 1.2 million Facebook users at risk.

Michael Zimmer, PhD
Assistant Professor, School of Information Studies
Co-Director, Center for Information Policy Research
University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee
e: zimmerm at uwm.edu
w: www.michaelzimmer.org

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