Metadata-conscious anonymous messaging

Giulia Fanti, Peter Kairouz, Sewoong Oh, Kannan Ramchandran, Pramod Viswanath

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contribution

3 Scopus citations


Anonymous messaging platforms like Whisper and Yik Yak allow users to spread messages over a network (e.g., a social network) without revealing message authorship to other users. The spread of messages on these platforms can be modeled by a diffusion process over a graph. Recent advances in network analysis have revealed that such diffusion processes are vulnerable to author deanonymization by adversaries with access to metadata, such as timing information. In this work, we ask the fundamental question of how to propagate anonymous messages over a graph to make it difficult for adversaries to infer the source. In particular, we study the performance of a message propagation protocol called adaptive diffusion introduced in (Fanti et al, #y2015). We prove that when the adversary has access to metadata at a fraction of corrupted graph nodes, adaptive diffusion achieves asymptotically optimal source-hiding and significantly outperforms standard diffusion. We further demonstrate empirically that adaptive diffusion hides the source effectively on real social networks.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publication33rd International Conference on Machine Learning, ICML 2016
EditorsMaria Florina Balcan, Kilian Q. Weinberger
PublisherInternational Machine Learning Society (IMLS)
Number of pages15
ISBN (Electronic)9781510829008
StatePublished - 2016
Externally publishedYes
Event33rd International Conference on Machine Learning, ICML 2016 - New York City, United States
Duration: Jun 19 2016Jun 24 2016

Publication series

Name33rd International Conference on Machine Learning, ICML 2016


Other33rd International Conference on Machine Learning, ICML 2016
Country/TerritoryUnited States
CityNew York City

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Artificial Intelligence
  • Software
  • Computer Networks and Communications


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