Team, Visitors, External Collaborators
Overall Objectives
Research Program
Application Domains
Highlights of the Year
New Software and Platforms
New Results
Bilateral Contracts and Grants with Industry
Partnerships and Cooperations
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Section: New Results

Universal Social Network Bus: Toward the Federation of Heterogeneous Online Social Network Services

Participants: Valérie Issarny, Nikolaos Georgantas, Ehsan Ahvar, Bruno Lefèvre, Shohreh Ahvar (MiMove), Rafael Angarita (ISEP Paris)

Online Social Network Services (OSNSs) are changing the fabric of our society, impacting almost every aspect of it. Over the past few decades, an aggressive market rivalry has led to the emergence of multiple competing, “closed” OSNSs. As a result, users are trapped in the walled gardens of their OSNS, encountering restrictions about what they can do with their personal data, the people they can interact with, and the information they get access to. As an alternative to the platform lock-in, “open” OSNSs promote the adoption of open, standardized APIs. However, users still massively adopt closed OSNSs to benefit from the services’ advanced functionalities and/or follow their “friends,” although the users’ virtual social sphere is ultimately limited by the OSNSs they join. Our work aims at overcoming such a limitation by enabling users to meet and interact beyond the boundary of their OSNSs, including reaching out to “friends” of distinct closed OSNSs. We specifically introduce Universal Social Network Bus (USNB), which revisits the “service bus” paradigm that enables interoperability across computing systems to address the requirements of “social interoperability.” USNB features synthetic profiles and personae for interaction across the boundaries of closed and open and profile- and non-profile-based OSNSs through a reference social interaction service. We ran a 1-day workshop with a panel of users who experimented with the USNB prototype to assess the potential benefits of social interoperability for social network users. Results show the positive evaluation of users for USNB, especially as an enabler of applications for civic participation. This further opens up new perspectives for future work, among which includes enforcing security and privacy guarantees.