Reconciling Privacy with Social Media

A workshop at CSCW 2012


Social media is the one of the newest among many ways individuals manage their social interactions with others. When the benefits of using social media are examined, it is rare that they are linked back to privacy. However, when framed correctly, privacy can be a means to enhance social media outcomes opposed to impeding them. This workshop broadens the lens of social media privacy to examine the benefits and outcomes of interactional privacy as they relate to social media goals. The workshop will also focus on designing for social media interfaces that are responsive to end users' changing privacy needs.

About the Workshop

Much research on privacy in social media has focused on limiting personal information disclosure, increasing control, and perpetuating social withdrawal (Tufekci 2008; Xu, Dinev et al. 2008; Ellison, Vitak et al. In press). Therefore, privacy goals are often characterized as diametrically opposed to goals of sharing and connecting via social media. On one hand, online social interaction requires disclosing and sharing information. On the other hand, people seek to control and restrict the amount and type of information they disclose, and with whom. However, privacy can also be characterized as a broader process where individuals and groups coordinate social interaction with others. In this broader conceptualization, privacy behavior moves beyond binary decisions to withhold or disclose and becomes an interactional process that involves the cooperation of others in the relationship. The goal of this workshop is to explore privacy in broader contexts and to understand its relationship to the benefits of social media and the support of online cooperative relationships. In doing so, we aim to reduce the often adversarial nature of privacy research and social media research by bringing both communities together to focus on common goals.

We are interested in the design of interfaces, methods, and metrics for usable, interactional privacy management within social media environments. As designers and researchers, it is important for us to develop metrics to evaluate different design alternatives in order to determine which best meet end users' privacy and social media goals as well as to create usable interfaces. We have multiple goals for this workshop. Our first goal is to encourage social media privacy researchers to broaden their perspectives on interactional privacy, and extend research on privacy regulation in cooperative work and relationships. Our second goal is to extend discussion of social media privacy to include broader social media themes that already have a presence at CSCW, in order to situate this research in ways that facilitate our understanding of cooperative work in online and social media settings. Pertinent CSCW research streams include trust development, social gaming, health support, emotion sharing, and cultural boundary management within social media. Hence, our workshop explores privacy behaviors and outcomes in both personal and organizational contexts because the two often overlap within social media environments (Wisniewski, Lipford et al. 2011). In addition, by integrating these social media communities into one forum, we extend current research and theory, as well as design practices, and begin to reconcile the goals of privacy with those of social media.


The workshop will focus on two main themes: Focusing on the benefits and outcomes of interactional privacy behaviors in social media environments, and emphasizing design and evaluation solutions for bringing such benefits to fruition. Topics include:


What are the major findings of prior CHI workshops in privacy?

How can we handle key challenges identified in the CHI 2011 workshop?

How can we support privacy as part of the user's regular online social activities?

How can we create social media environments that are responsive to end users' changing privacy needs while supporting cooperation?


Understand the implications of privacy for social interactions

Reconcile conflicting privacy and social media goals

Discuss and promote the development of viable design solutions


Heather Richter Lipford, University of North Carolina at Charlotte
Pamela Wisniewski,
University of North Carolina at Charlotte
Cliff Lampe,
University of Michigan
Lorraine Kisselburgh,
Purdue University
Kelly Caine,
Indiana University Bloomington

Accepted Position Papers

1. Reclaiming Privacy: Reconnecting Victims of Cyberbullying and Cyberpredation (pdf)

Lynne Edwards, Ursinus College; April Kontostathis, Ursinus College

2. How Good Is Good Enough? The sisyphean struggle for optimal privacy settings (pdf)

Serge Egelman, University of California, Berkeley; Maritza Johnson, Columbia University

3. Reconceptualizing Privacy for Social Media Research and Design (pdf)

Jennifer King, University of California, Berkeley; Deirdre K. Mulligan, University of California, Berkeley

4. Privacy and Social Media Ecologies (pdf)

Lorraine G. Kisselburgh, Purdue University

5. Privacy Management Strategies and Online Photo Sharing: A Pilot Survey (pdf)

Airi Lampinen, Helsinki Institute for Information Technology HIIT / Aalto University; Kai Huotari, Helsinki Institute for Information Technology HIIT / Aalto University; Coye Cheshire, University of California, Berkeley

6. Power and Transparency: Asymmetries and Symmetries in Cooperation (pdf)

Kai-Uwe Loser, Ruhr-University Bochum; Thomas Herrmann, Ruhr-University Bochum; Martin Degeling, Ruhr-University Bochum

7. Social Norms and Impression Management in Location-Sharing and Other Social Media (pdf)

Xinru Page, University of California, Irvine; Alfred Kobsa, University of California, Irvine


8. Are You Exposed? Conveying Information Exposure (pdf)

Sameer Patil, Indiana University at Bloomington; Apu Kapadia, Indiana University at Bloomington

9. Interactional Privacy Norms and the Value of Friendship

Vance Ricks, Guilford College

10. Vanity or Privacy? Social Media as a Facilitator of Privacy and Trust (pdf)

Jessica Staddon, Google

11. Obscurity by Design: An Approach to Building Privacy into Social Media(pdf)

Fred Stutzman, Carnegie Mellon University; Woodrow Hartzog, Samford University

12. The Privacy versus Utility Tradeoff for Social Location Sharing (pdf)

Karen P. Tang, University of California, Irvine; Jason I. Hong, Carnegie Mellon University; Daniel P. Siewiorek, Carnegie Mellon University

13. Privacy and Reminiscing: What Happens After the Initial Privacy Decision? (pdf)

Elizabeth A. Thiry, Pennsylvania State University; Christopher M. Mascaro, Drexel University

14. Identifiability and Sharing within Enterprise Social Software (pdf)

Jennifer Thom, IBM T J Watson Research; David R. Millen, IBM T J Watson Research; Meng Yang, IBM; Joan DiMicco, IBM T J Watson Research