My name is danah boyd and I'm a Principal Researcher at Microsoft Research and the founder/president of Data & Society. Buzzwords in my world include: privacy, context, youth culture, social media, big data. I use this blog to express random thoughts about whatever I'm thinking.

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Archive

Debating Privacy in a Networked World for the WSJ

Earlier this week, the Wall Street Journal posted excerpts from a debate between me, Stewart Baker, Jeff Jarvis, and Chris Soghoian on privacy. In preparation for the piece, they had us respond to a series of questions. Jeff posted the full text of his responses here. Now it’s my turn. Here are the questions that […]

Why Parents Help Children Violate Facebook’s 13+ Rule

Announcing new journal article: “Why Parents Help Their Children Lie to Facebook About Age: Unintended Consequences of the ‘Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act’” by danah boyd, Eszter Hargittai, Jason Schultz, and John Palfrey, First Monday. “At what age should I let my child join Facebook?” This is a question that countless parents have asked my […]

“Real Names” Policies Are an Abuse of Power

Everyone’s abuzz with the “nymwars,” mostly in response to Google Plus’ decision to enforce its “real names” policy. At first, Google Plus went on a deleting spree, killing off accounts that violated its policy. When the community reacted with outrage, Google Plus leaders tried to calm the anger by detailing their “new and improved” mechanism […]

“Networked Privacy” (my PDF talk)

Our contemporary ideas about privacy are often shaped by legal discourse that emphasizes the notion of “individual harm.” Furthermore, when we think about privacy in online contexts, the American neoliberal frame and the techno-libertarian frame once again force us to really think about the individual. In my talk at Personal Democracy Forum this year, I […]

How Teens Understand Privacy

In the fall, Alice Marwick and I went into the field to understand teens’ privacy attitudes and practices. We’ve blogged some of our thinking since then but we’re currently working on turning our thinking into a full-length article. We are lucky enough to be able to workshop our ideas at an upcoming scholarly meeting (PLSC), […]

Risk Reduction Strategies on Facebook

Sometimes, when I’m in the field, I find teens who have strategies for managing their online presence that are odd at first blush but make complete sense when you understand the context in which they operate. These teens use innovative approaches to leverage the technology to meet personal goals. Let me explain two that caught […]

Regulating the Use of Social Media Data

If you were to walk into my office, I’d have a pretty decent sense of your gender, your age, your race, and other identity markers. My knowledge wouldn’t be perfect, but it would give me plenty of information that I could use to discriminate against you if I felt like it. The law doesn’t prohibit […]

Social Steganography: Learning to Hide in Plain Sight

[Posted originally to the Digital Media & Learning blog.] Carmen and her mother are close. As far as Carmen’s concerned, she has nothing to hide from her mother so she’s happy to have her mom as her ‘friend’ on Facebook. Of course, Carmen’s mom doesn’t always understand the social protocols on Facebook and Carmen sometimes […]

Facebook privacy settings: Who cares?

Eszter Hargittai and I just published a new article in First Monday entitled: “Facebook privacy settings: Who cares?” Abstract: With over 500 million users, the decisions that Facebook makes about its privacy settings have the potential to influence many people. While its changes in this domain have often prompted privacy advocates and news media to […]

How COPPA Fails Parents, Educators, Youth

Ever wonder why youth have to be over 13 to create an account on Facebook or Gmail or Skype? It has nothing to do with safety. In 1998, the U.S. Congress enacted the Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act (COPPA) with the best of intentions. They wanted to make certain that corporations could not collect or […]