A Survey on Privacy in Decentralized Online Social Networks

Decentralized Online Social Networks (DOSNs) have recently captured the interest of users because of the more control given to them over their shared contents. Indeed, most of the user privacy issues related to the centralized Online Social Network (OSN) services (such as Facebook or Google+) do not apply in the case of DOSNs because of the absence of the centralized service provider. However, these new architectures have motivated researchers to investigate new privacy solutions that allow DOSN’s users to protect their contents by taking into account the decentralized nature of the DOSNs platform. In this survey, we provide a comprehensive overview of the privacy solutions adopted by currently available DOSNs, and we compare them by exploiting several criteria. After presenting the differences that existing DOSNs present in terms of provided services and architecture, we identify, for each of them, the privacy model used to define the privacy policies and the mechanisms for their management (i.e., initialization and modification of the privacy policy). In addition, we evaluate the overhead introduced by the security mechanisms adopted for privacy policy management and enforcement by discussing their advantages and drawbacks.