Keywords: network games, game theory, privacy, self-disclosure, network design
Abstract: This work models the costs and benefits of personal information sharing, or self-disclosure, in online social networks as a networked disclosure game. In a networked population where edges represent visibility amongst users, we assume a leader can influence network structure through content promotion, and we seek to optimize social welfare through network design. Our approach considers user interaction non-homogeneously, where pairwise engagement amongst users can involve or not involve sharing personal information. We prove that this problem is NP-hard. As a solution, we develop a Mixed-integer Linear Programming algorithm, which can achieve an exact solution, and also develop a time-efficient heuristic algorithm that can be used at scale. We conduct numerical experiments to demonstrate the properties of the algorithms and map theoretical results to a dataset of posts and comments in 2020 and 2021 in a COVID-related Subreddit community where privacy risks and sharing tradeoffs were particularly pronounced.
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