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June 29, 2012 9:00 am

Israeli Researchers Design Anti-Pedophile Facebook App

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A group of researchers at Ben Gurion University in Israel have developed a Facebook application that identifies potential social media pariahs and users who may have ulterior motives than the ones they suggest directly.

Researcher Michael Fire, who is part of the 4-person team that developed the application, which was originally designed to detect child predators in the social network arena, but grew into a tool with other uses, told The Times of Israel that the application helps in “identifying a user’s friends who might pose a threat, and then restricting the ‘friend’s’ exposure to the user’s personal information.”

“The second layer is an expansion of Facebook’s basic privacy settings based on different types of social network usage profiles,” Fire said. “The third layer alerts the user about the number of installed applications on their Facebook profile which have access to their private information.”

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Facebook is currently evaluating the application, which Fire says runs counter to the general idea of the social media platform.

“Our app really does the opposite of what Facebook wants. The service encourages connecting with as many people as possible, while we advocate limiting users, and have, for the first time, provided an algorithm to scientifically determine who to remove from friend lists. But we believe that the app will be approved,” said Fire.

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