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Social networking platforms integrate third-party content into social networking sites and give third-party developers access to user data. These open interfaces enable popular site enhancements but pose serious privacy risks by exposing user data to third-party developers. The authors address the privacy risks associated with social networking APIs by presenting a privacy-by-proxy design for a privacy-preserving API. The design is motivated by an analysis of the data needs and uses of Facebook applications. They studied 150 popular Facebook applications and found that nearly all applications could maintain their functionality using a limited interface that only provides access to an anonymized social graph and placeholders for user data.
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