Social Record opens exhibition to raise awareness for data privacy in social media


Josef Grieb
Darleen Zumbruch
Johann Hemmann
Jonathan Freiberger
Lukas Menzel
Lukas Müller
Martin Zaubitzer
Alexander Martin


Social Record showcases how social media platforms are exploiting the lacking knowledge about data privacy and how users can protect themselves.


In this press release, which is one of the many tasks teams work on during a challenge, you will learn more about Social Record’s Approach to the problem.

Press Release
Berlin, Germany – 05.12.2019

Social Record has opened its exhibition. Social Record invites all active social media users to experience what public data social media providers expose about the visitors by identifying them using face recognition. By that Social Record wants to educate the visitors about data privacy and supports them to improve their abilities to control their data in the social web.

Social media is everywhere. Few people know how revealing their data can be when different sources are combined. Default privacy settings are often very loose and allow third parties to collect and analyze intimate data.

In the last couple of years, we were whipped by data leaks and breaches over and over again.
For example, in 2018 the Facebook-Cambridge Analytica data scandal showed how malicious interest groups influence political elections using social media data. But even if it created a huge outcry in the online privacy community, more than 50% of the US citizens didn’t hear anything or only a little about it.

The issue is, that normally, once you see that you are personally affected it is already too late: Identity theft, subconscious manipulation and discrimination are real issues, that can cost you opportunities and even your savings. In 2017 alone, 16.7 million US citizens were victims of identity theft.

To solve this problem Social Record wants to raise awareness for data privacy by collecting and analyzing public data that the student project collected from Instagram. The visitors have the chance to discover their online identity and experience what sensitive information they are unknowingly exposing about themselves.

For that Social Record evaluates a privacy score to see how well the visitor is protected. The privacy score indicates using a traffic light rating system how well the user is protected. Besides that, the project shows the relations between social media users, which interests the users share and which users interacted the most with the visitor on Instagram.

To showcase this sensitive information Social Record collected hundreds of millions of data points from Instagram to analyze this data by their Machine Learning Algorithms. This allows visitors to get insights into their social media behavior and reveal their invisible digital identity.

Alexander Martin, who started the project, explains: “It’s impressive how much we could collect about a ton of people in this short time. We are just students. Can you imagine what people with more time, experience and money are doing behind the scenes?”

In the first step the visitors get identified using face recognition to show the analyzed data about the person on a digital screen. Here the visitors can not only see the pictures they posted, but also see all their relations to other users and how they interact with each other and which interests they share. As a result of this Social Record evaluates the privacy score of the user to showcase how public their life is.

Based on this the visitors gets a written handout on how they can reclaim their privacy from the different sites so that they can act and improve their privacy settings.

“Wow, the internet actually remembers, I thought that was just a saying. I will change all my public profiles to private access. ” added Anna Heisenberg. “I learned a lot about privacy today. Thanks to the privacy score and handout I know now what I can do to improve my privacy settings”, mentioned Mitchell Thomson, student in Berlin.

Social Record and the Better Future Lab invite all active social media users to to visit the exhibition in Berlin. The Social Record expo will take place on the 5th of December from 9am to 6pm at the CODE University of Applied Sciences. After the exhibition the team wants to enable all active social media users to discover their online identities on the Social Record website. This will enable Social Record to increase the impact and educate more people on data privacy.

Social Record’s Storyboard

Social Record’s Architectural Overview

Social Record’s Code repository on GitHub