New Application Ensures Anonymity and Trustworthiness

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A team of researchers created an internet browser extension application that automatically verifies authenticity of posts while ensuring anonymity and trustworthiness.

An interdisciplinary group of researchers at UC Santa Barbara designed an innovative application, which takes care of the needs of today’s social networking users. The uniqueness in the application is that it holds features that establishes a trustworthy identity in the communications of the users and provides anonymity so that the dissident community might not be persecuted.

The researchers assessed the challenges of the minority groups that they face from dissenting their voice in social networking sites by travelling in three countries and collecting their feedback. The computer science and communication researchers designed the app for Android operating system that would safeguard group members’ anonymity as well as verify the reliability of posts coming from the group. The findings were reported in the Journal of Internet Services and Applications.

Miriam Metzger, professor in the department of communication, and co-author of the paper, said: “The problem with anonymous communication is you don’t know if it’s credible. If you’re just getting a message and you don’t know who it’s coming from, you’re probably not going to do what that message tells you to do. Especially if it’s risky.”

The app provides the communities to create secure groups on Twitter and Facebook, allowing them to put consistent and visible presence on social media. “This enables them to build up trust with their readership over time,” explained Michael Nekrasov, a computer science doctoral student and lead author of the paper.

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Cynthia Carrier is a graduate of Texas A&M, where she played volleyball and annoyed a lot of professors. Now as Plains Gazette's entertainment and Lifestyle Editor, she enjoys writing about delicious BBQ, outrageous style trends and all things Texas.