Online Privacy and Aging of Digital Artifacts


Reham Ebada Mohamed and Sonia Chiasson, Carleton University


This paper explores how the user interface can help users invoke the right to be forgotten in social media by decaying content. The decaying of digital artifacts gradually degrades content, thereby becoming less accessible to audiences. Through a lab study of 30 participants, we probe the concept of aging/decaying of digital artifacts. We compared three visualization techniques (pixelating, fading, and shrinking) used to decay social media content on three platforms (Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter). We report results from qualitative and quantitative analysis. Visualizations that most closely reflect how memories fade over time were most effective. We also report on participants' attitudes and concerns about how content decay relates to protection of their online privacy. We discuss the implications of our results and provide preliminary recommendations based on our findings.

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@inproceedings {219410,
author = {Reham Ebada Mohamed and Sonia Chiasson},
title = {Online Privacy and Aging of Digital Artifacts},
booktitle = {Fourteenth Symposium on Usable Privacy and Security (SOUPS 2018)},
year = {2018},
isbn = {978-1-939133-10-6},
address = {Baltimore, MD},
pages = {177--195},
url = {},
publisher = {USENIX Association},
month = aug