Working paper

The Sharing Game: Benefits and Privacy Implications of (Co)-Location Sharing with Interdependences

Most popular location-based social networks, such as Facebook and Foursquare, let their users post location and co-location information (with other users). Such posts bring social benefits to the users who post them but also to their friends, who view them. Yet, they represent a severe threat to the users’ (location) privacy, as co-location information introduces interdependence between users. In this paper, we propose a game theoretical framework for analyzing and predicting the strategic behaviours of users of social networks regarding (co)-location information sharing. In addition, in order to design parametric utility functions as representative as possible of the users’ actual preferences, we conduct a survey targeted at Facebook users and rely on conjoint analysis for quantifying the users benefits of sharing vs. viewing (co)-location information and their preference for privacy vs. benefits.We evaluate our framework through data-driven numerical simulations. We show how users’ individual preferences influence each others’ decisions and identify several factors that significantly impact these decisions, specifically the considered adversary and the preference for privacy vs. benefits.

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