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

Alex Leavitt alexleavitt at gmail.com
Tue Feb 15 09:45:30 PST 2011


I read through your blog post via a link from Twitter this morning. I agree
that's it's a big misstep to include the User IDs. But in your write-up, as
well as on the release page of the dataset, there doesn't seem to be any
mention of what percentage of the users (at the time of collection) had
privacy settings enabled versus were fully public. Any idea?



Alexander Leavitt
Microsoft Research New England
Microsoft Entertainment & Devices
Convergence Culture Consortium (Comparative Media Studies, MIT)
Twitter: @alexleavitt

On Tue, Feb 15, 2011 at 12:38 PM, Michael Zimmer <zimmerm at uwm.edu> wrote:

> Dear AoIR-ers:
> Some might be interested in this Facebook dataset release, and the issues I
> raise regarding its "anonymization".
> -mz
> Facebook Data of 1.2 Million Users from 2005 Released: Limited Exposure,
> but Very Problematic
> http://michaelzimmer.org/2011/02/15/facebook-data-of-1-2-million-users-from-2005-released/
> 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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