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Information from the physical world is increasingly being digitalized and shared in social networks. We share our locations, tag photos and add different kinds of informal awareness cues about the physical world to our online communities. In this paper, we investigate the privacy implications of shared context cues in social networking services. We present an experimental mobile application, which allows users to add different descriptions of context information to their Facebook and Twitter status updates. The application was used by 12 persons during a two-week user trial using their own devices and Facebook accounts. The results indicate that user-defined abstractions of context items were often preferred over more accurate indicators due to privacy concerns or discomfort in sharing. We also found out that using shared context from friends in vicinity needs careful design to overcome the extended privacy implications.
Date of Conference: 19-23 March 2012