Workshop on Collaborative Privacy Practices in Social Media @ CSCW 2011


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Privacy protection and management in social media becomes increasingly important. The involvement of multiple stakeholders in personal data makes privacy protection and management no longer a task for indi-vidual users and thus requires the collaboration among all stakeholders. This workshop on collaborative privacy practices (CPP) has three main goals. First, we will explore the contributions that CSCW research has made to our understanding of CPP. Second, we will identify challenges to conceptualizing CPP and to designing and evaluating tools for enacting CPP. Third, we will develop a research agenda for future research on CPP.

This workshop is part of CSCW 2011

The workshop schedule is available here.

About the Workshop

Research and design concerning information privacy and security has long focused on issues at the individual level. Most technological safeguards and policies have been oriented towards individual privacy practices (IPP) [1]. Yet, many Web 2.0 technologies are highly collaborative where collective action with rich data exchange is the norm. Social media brought the voluntary disclosure of personal information to the mainstream, thus exposing users to greater privacy risks. For example, most social networking services (e.g., Facebook) allow users to create contents that may connect with their friends' identities (e.g., uploading an image about a friend, tagging a friend in an image, or linking to a friend's personal profile). Such collaborative activities raise a new set of privacy challenges, because a person's pri-vate information can be easily revealed in contents created by others.

Although many prior CSCW studies and technologies have addressed privacy issues, the focus is often on the balance of privacy and utility at the individual level, i.e. how to share and use personal information that is critical to collaboration without jeopardizing individual privacy. In other words, such balance is often achieved through individual actions to control their personal information. However, in the context of social networking services, concerned private information will not only reside in a single user's own domain, but also be co-owned and co-managed by other stakeholders (e.g., friends who upload or comment an image). Thus, the task of privacy management has to involve other stakeholders in a collaborative fashion.

Recently, researchers in multiple disciplines have be-come interested in examining the particulars of colla-borative privacy management in online social net-works, including users' privacy perceptions and beha-viors [2], interface design to support user awareness of privacy risks [3], and algorithms for enforcing ac-cess control scheme [4]. However, these privacy studies fail to examine the notion of collaboration at the group level and thus are insufficient to address why and how a group of users would enact collaborative privacy practices (CPP) through technical and operational means to co-manage their shared data.


The workshop will focus on two main themes: conceptualization and design aspect of CPP. Possible topics include but are not limited to:


  • What are the major findings of prior CSCW research in privacy?
  • What methods have been most effective for privacy studies at the group level?
  • How will the technology and privacy stan-dards may help to work on a common ground of CPP? and
  • What is the role of CSCW research in under-standing CPP, and how can CSCW-informed technologies support CPP?


  • User mental models and group dynamics;
  • Interface designs to support CPP;
  • Tools or applications that support CPP in so-cial media;
  • Methods to evaluate designs and tools on CPP;
  • Privacy by Design approach to make CPP well embedded with users' daily tasks.

Call for Participation

Potential workshop participants should submit 2-4 page position papers (HCI Archive Format) that describe:

  • their area of research as it relates to CPP;
  • the future direction they see research in this space taking.

We also ask that authors include short biographies for each of the position paper's authors.

Email submissions to

Important Dates:

December 22(extended to) January 28, 2011:
February 18, 2011:
March 20, 2011:

Position papers due
Notification of acceptance


Dr. Heng Xu is an assistant professor in the College of Information Sciences and Technology at the Pennsylvania State University. She leads the Privacy Assurance Lab (PAL), an interdisciplinary research group working on a diverse set of projects related to the conceptualization, intervention, and design aspects of privacy and security. She is a recipient of the endowed PNC Technologies Career Development Professorship (2010-2013) and NSF CAREER Award (2010-2015). She has published journal articles and conference papers on information privacy and security, and social media.

Dr. Xiaolong (Luke) Zhang is an assistant professor in the College of Information Sciences and Technology at the Pennsylvania State University. Dr. Zhang's research interests are in interactive system design to support information exploration and knowledge acquisition. He has studied CSCW issues among users working in multiscale environments, geospatial collaboration among domain experts in emergency management, and multimedia information sharing through social networks. His research has been published in leading HCI conferences and journals.

Dr. Madhu Reddy is an associate professor in the College of Information Sciences and Technology at the Pennsylvania State University. Dr. Reddy's research interests are at the intersection of CSCW and medical informatics. He has been examining CSCW issues in healthcare for a number of years and has published this research in various ACM and Medical Informatics conferences and journals. Dr. Reddy is interested in understanding how healthcare workers enact privacy practices in collaborative, information-intensive clinical settings.


We gratefully acknowledge the financial support of the National Science Foundation under grant IIS-1017247 and CNS-0953749. Any opinions, findings, and conclusions or recommendations expressed herein are those of the researchers and do not necessarily reflect the views of the National Science Foundation.


  1. Smith, H. J., Dinev, T., and Xu, H. Information Privacy Research: An Interdisciplinary Review. MIS Quarterly, 2011, in press.
  2. Hoadley, C. M., Xu, H., Lee, J. J., and Rosson, M. B. Privacy as Information Access and Illusory Control: The Case of the Facebook News Feed Privacy Outcry. Electronic Commerce Re-search and Applications, 2010, 9(1): 50-60.
  3. Lipford, R. H., Hull, G., Latulipe, C., Besmer, A., and Watson, J. Visible Flows: Contexual Integrity and the Design of Privacy Mechanisms in Online Social Networking. Proceedings of Workshop on Security & Privacy in Online Social Networking, August 2009, Vancouver, Canada, 985-989.
  4. Squicciarini, C. A., Shehab, M., and Paci, F. Collec-tive Privacy Management in Social Networks. Pro-ceedings of the 18th International Conference on World Wide Web, 2009, Madrid, Spain, 521-530.