Tag: losing face

SSRN Success…Sort Of

by on Apr.20, 2010, under general

When the NYT linked to Saving Face (my thesis), I saw thousands and thousands of downloads from my server – I think I calculated at the time that it would’ve made it the 7th most downloaded article ever from SSRN.

A few days ago, I was informed that Losing Face (my revised article) had made the top ten list for (recent) articles in the eBusiness & eCommerce eJournal.

I also found out that Losing Face has been already cited in three peer-reviewed papers, including one in First Monday and two law review articles.

While I’m honored that so many folks have found my writing to be interesting and useful, it is a bit ironic that Losing Face appears to be good enough to be widely read and well-cited but not good enough to merit publication on its own, at least judging by the stream of rejections from law reviews to which I’ve submitted. Guess not having a J.D. is a bigger issue than I’d hoped…

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Losing Face: An Environmental Analysis of Privacy on Facebook

by on Jan.06, 2010, under papers, rfc

Yesterday, I submitted Losing Face: An Environmental Analysis of Privacy on Facebook to a variety of science and technology law reviews. Its abstract is as follows:

This Article contributes to the ongoing conversation about privacy on social network sites. Adopting Facebook as its primary example, it reviews behavioral data and case studies of privacy problems in an attempt to understand user experiences. The Article fills a crucial gap in the literature by conducting the first extensive analysis of the informational and decisional environment of Facebook. Privacy and the environment are inextricably linked: the practice of the former depends upon the dynamics and heuristics of the latter.

The Article argues that there is an environmental element to the Facebook privacy problem. Data flow differently on Facebook than in the physical world, and the architectural heuristics of privacy are absent or misleading. This counterintuitive informational environment waylays privacy practices, opens a gulf between expectation and outcome, causes a crisis in self-presentation, and facilitates what Professor Helen Nissenbaum calls a loss of contextual integrity.

The Article explores possible interventions. It explains how regulatory solutions and market forces are themselves hindered by the the deficient privacy environment of Facebook and can’t solve all of its problems. This Article recommends renovating the design of Facebook to privilege privacy practices and proposes specific interventions drawn from the computer science and behavioral economics literature. It concludes with a message of cautious optimism for the emerging coalition of engineers, academics, and practitioners who care about privacy on networked publics.

The Article is a heavily revised adaptation of the thesis I conducted for Ethan Katsh and Alan Gaitenby at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst. If you’ve read my thesis (entitled “Saving Face”; title changed to avoid confusion with James Grimmelmann’s excellent Saving Facebook, recently published in the Iowa Law Review), then you’re familiar with the broad contours of the idea.

Losing Face, however, has been both greatly refined in its argumentation and noticeably reworked in its format (bah Bluebook) over the last year or so. I received invaluable feedback and assistance over the last from many people during this drafting process, including Helen Nissenbaum, researchers and interns at the Berkman Center for Internet and Society, but most indispensably James Grimmelmann, who helped me navigate the convoluted and mystified norms and logistics of the publication process.

I’ve posted a copy of the Article here and on BePress for further comment while it wends its merry way through the editorial process. This is a draft only, and should not be used for citation. I’ve endeavored to make all references as clear as possible, though some are not as clear as they will be in the final version because I haven’t nailed down all the infras and supras yet. If you have any questions, comments, or concerns about Losing Face, please feel free to drop a comment here or shoot me an email.

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