Toward automated online photo privacy

Anna Squicciarini, Cornelia Caragea, Rahul Balakavi

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

32 Scopus citations


Online photo sharing is an increasingly popular activity for Internet users. More and more users are now constantly sharing their images in various social media, from social networking sites to online communities, blogs, and content sharing sites. In this article, we present an extensive study exploring privacy and sharing needs of users' uploaded images. We develop learning models to estimate adequate privacy settings for newly uploaded images, based on carefully selected image-specific features. Our study investigates both visual and textual features of images for privacy classification. We consider both basic image-specific features, commonly used for image processing, as well as more sophisticated and abstract visual features. Additionally, we include a visual representation of the sentiment evoked by images. To our knowledge, sentiment has never been used in the context of image classification for privacy purposes. We identify the smallest set of features, that by themselves or combined together with others, can perform well in properly predicting the degree of sensitivity of users' images. We consider both the case of binary privacy settings (i.e., public, private), as well as the case of more complex privacy options, characterized by multiple sharing options. Our results show that with few carefully selected features, one may achieve high accuracy, especially when high-quality tags are available.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number2
JournalACM Transactions on the Web
Issue number1
StatePublished - Mar 2017

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Computer Networks and Communications


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