Privacy-Preserving Social Media Data Outsourcing

Jinxue Zhang Arizona State University, USA
Jingchao Sun Arizona State University, USA
Rui Zhang University of Delaware, USA
Yanchao Zhang Arizona State University, USA
Xia Hu Texas A&M University, USA


User-generated social media data are exploding and of high demand in public and private sectors. The disclosure of intact social media data exacerbates the threats to user privacy. In this paper, we first identify a text-based user-linkage attack on current data outsourcing practices, in which the real users in an anonymized dataset can be pinpointed based on the users' unprotected text data. Then we propose a framework for differentially privacy-preserving social media data outsourcing for the first time in literature. Within our framework, social media data service providers can outsource perturbed datasets to provide users differential privacy while offering high data utility to social media data consumers. Our differential privacy mechanism is based on a novel notion of ✏-text indistinguishability, which we propose to thwart the text-based user-linkage attack. Extensive experiments on real-world and synthetic datasets confirm that our framework can enable high-level differential privacy protection and also high data utility.

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