An Investigation into Facebook Friend Grouping

  • Patrick Gage Kelley
  • Robin Brewer
  • Yael Mayer
  • Lorrie Faith Cranor
  • Norman Sadeh
Part of the Lecture Notes in Computer Science book series (LNCS, volume 6948)


With increasingly large friend networks, Facebook users may be losing sight of exactly with whom they are sharing content they post to Facebook. When Facebook released a new privacy interface in sum- mer 2010 they simplified privacy controls; however, group-based permis- sions remain at the core of fine-grained privacy control. In order to use these fine-grained controls, users must be able to accurately and usefully specify friend groups. In a series of 46 semi-structured interviews, we investigated how participants group their online friends using four differ- ent grouping methods. Our results show that these different mechanisms alter the strategies and groups that users create, that groups created a priori need further refinement before they can adequately address pri- vacy decisions, and that users are adapting their online behavior to avoid the need to specify groups in the current Facebook interface. We con- clude with several recommendations that would allow users improved group-based access control.


grouping online social networks privacy access control 


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Copyright information

© IFIP International Federation for Information Processing 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  • Patrick Gage Kelley
    • 1
  • Robin Brewer
    • 2
  • Yael Mayer
    • 3
  • Lorrie Faith Cranor
    • 1
  • Norman Sadeh
    • 1
  1. 1.Carnegie Mellon UniversityUnited States
  2. 2.University of MarylandUnited States
  3. 3.Harvey Mudd CollegeUnited States

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