Skip to main content

A Closer Look at Third-Party OSN Applications: Are They Leaking Your Personal Information?

  • Conference paper
Passive and Active Measurement (PAM 2014)

Part of the book series: Lecture Notes in Computer Science ((LNCCN,volume 8362))

Included in the following conference series:


We examine third-party Online Social Network (OSN) applications for two major OSNs: Facebook and RenRen. These third-party applications typically gather, from the OSN, user personal information. We develop a measurement platform to study the interaction between OSN applications and fourth parties. We use this platform to study the behavior of 997 Facebook applications and 377 RenRen applications. We find that the Facebook and RenRen applications interact with hundreds of different fourth-party tracking entities. More worrisome, 22% of Facebook applications and 69% of RenRen applications provide users’ personal information to one or more fourth-party tracking entities.

This is a preview of subscription content, log in via an institution to check access.

Access this chapter

USD 29.95
Price excludes VAT (USA)
  • Available as PDF
  • Read on any device
  • Instant download
  • Own it forever
USD 39.99
Price excludes VAT (USA)
  • Available as PDF
  • Read on any device
  • Instant download
  • Own it forever
Softcover Book
USD 54.99
Price excludes VAT (USA)
  • Compact, lightweight edition
  • Dispatched in 3 to 5 business days
  • Free shipping worldwide - see info

Tax calculation will be finalised at checkout

Purchases are for personal use only

Institutional subscriptions


Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.


  1. Chaabane, A., Kaafar, M.A., Boreli, R.: Big friend is watching you: Analyzing online social networks tracking capabilities. In: WOSN (2012)

    Google Scholar 

  2. Chia, P.H., Yamamoto, Y., Asokan, N.: Is this app safe?: A large scale study on application permissions and risk signals. In: WWW (2012)

    Google Scholar 

  3. Dey, R., Jelveh, Z., Ross, K.: Facebook users have become much more private: A large-scale study. In: PERCOM Workshops (2012)

    Google Scholar 

  4. Frank, M., Dong, B., Porter Felt, A., Song, D.: Mining permission request patterns from Android and Facebook applications. In: ICDM (2012)

    Google Scholar 

  5. Krishnamurthy, B., Wills, C.E.: Characterizing privacy in online social networks. In: WOSN (2008)

    Google Scholar 

  6. Krishnamurthy, B., Wills, C.E.: On the leakage of personally identifiable information via online social networks. In: WOSN (2009)

    Google Scholar 

  7. Mayer, J.R., Mitchell, J.C.: Third-party web tracking: Policy and technology. In: S&P (2012)

    Google Scholar 

  8. Perito, D., Castelluccia, C., Kaafar, M.A., Manils, P.: How unique and traceable are usernames? In: Fischer-Hübner, S., Hopper, N. (eds.) PETS 2011. LNCS, vol. 6794, pp. 1–17. Springer, Heidelberg (2011)

    Chapter  Google Scholar 

  9. Xia, N., Song, H., Liao, Y., Iliofotou, M., Nucci, A., Zhang, Z., Kuzmanovic, A.: Mosaic: Quantifying privacy leakage in mobile networks. In: SIGCOMM (2013)

    Google Scholar 

Download references

Author information

Authors and Affiliations


Editor information

Editors and Affiliations

Rights and permissions

Reprints and permissions

Copyright information

© 2014 Springer International Publishing Switzerland

About this paper

Cite this paper

Chaabane, A., Ding, Y., Dey, R., Kaafar, M.A., Ross, K.W. (2014). A Closer Look at Third-Party OSN Applications: Are They Leaking Your Personal Information?. In: Faloutsos, M., Kuzmanovic, A. (eds) Passive and Active Measurement. PAM 2014. Lecture Notes in Computer Science, vol 8362. Springer, Cham.

Download citation

  • DOI:

  • Publisher Name: Springer, Cham

  • Print ISBN: 978-3-319-04917-5

  • Online ISBN: 978-3-319-04918-2

  • eBook Packages: Computer ScienceComputer Science (R0)

Publish with us

Policies and ethics