Facebook App, Firefox Plugin Analyze Facebook Friends To Root Out Potential Fakes

By David Cohen 

A new tool to help parents protect their kids on Facebook, and to help Facebook users in general avoid fake user profiles, was developed by Israel’s Ben-Gurion University of the Negev.

The tool comes in the form of a Facebook application called Friends Protector or a Firefox add-on called Social Privacy Protector.

They work by analyzing users’ friends lists and scoring their “connectedness” to every friend, based on mutual links. Those friends with the lowest scores are treated as suspicious, and their access to the user’s profile is restricted.

Researcher Michael Fire told Psych Central:

An important feature of our app is the ability for parents to better protect their kids’ privacy with just one click instead of having to navigate the more complicated Facebook privacy settings. While Facebook encourages connecting with as many people as possible, we advocate limiting users, and have, for the first time, provided an algorithm to scientifically determine who to remove from friend lists.

Predators rely on people friending anyone, and with teens now allowed to have Facebook accounts, we believe that our solution can provide necessary protection for all users.

And Doron Krakow, executive vice president, American associates, Ben-Gurion of the Negev told Psych Central:

Social media is an incredible phenomenon, but it has significant pitfalls if used haphazardly, especially by teens. We’re very proud of the fact that at BGU, even undergraduate students have the opportunity to work with top researchers and can devise such an important app that could protect millions of youth.

Readers: Would you test out an app like Friends Protector/Social Privacy Protector, or do you think your kids are savvy enough to fend for themselves on Facebook?

Magnifying glass image courtesy of Shutterstock.