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Staying Off Facebook Won’t Protect Your Privacy

Stay away from social networks and people won’t know who you’re hanging out with or what you’re doing, right? Wrong.

A Paper published last month in the journal PLoS One – – shows how researchers were able to learn about nonmembers of social networks based on information their friends posted online.

Using machine-learning models, the German researchers were able to predict whether two nonmembers of a social network knew each other based on information shared by a mutual contact on the network.

“To our knowledge these are the first results on the potential of social network platforms to infer relationships between non-members,” the researchers wrote. They also noted that the relationships were predicted with an “astonishing” rate of accuracy simply by scanning readily available information on Facebook for students at five U.S. universities.

“Ultimately,” the study concludes, “it evokes the question of the ownership and exploitation of relational data in the information age.”

Original Article 

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