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Now Available: Innovators Under 35 2013 See The 2013 List »

Danah Boyd, 32

Shaping the rules for social networks

Microsoft Research

Social sleuth: Danah Boyd is uncovering the unexpected effects of networking sites.
Credit: Mark Ostow

As more and more people join social-networking sites, Danah Boyd is asking and answering some uncomfortable questions about these online communities. Among other things, she has detailed how race has been a factor in some users' migration from MySpace to Facebook, how social networks are changing the way teenagers relate to one another, and how the Internet alters the way people think about privacy.

Working as an advisor, Boyd has shaped the policies of companies like Google and LiveJournal. Now employed by Microsoft Research New England, she has been talking with government regulators and privacy advocacy groups to determine how best to help users protect their personal information. She believes that privacy regulation is inevitable and is trying to guide the industry and regulators toward a set of mutually acceptable rules.

Critical to any such solution, Boyd says, is making sure that people can control what happens to their personal data after it has been entered into a social network.--Erica Naone

2010 TR35 Winners

Danah Boyd (video)

Shaping the rules for social networks

Wesley Chan

Building new technology businesses

Nick Feamster

Watching the suspicious behavior of spam

David Karp

A platform that keeps ­bloggers blogging

David Kobia (video)

Software that helps populations cope with crises

Christopher Kruegel

Developing software that shuts down botnets

Kati London (video)

Teaching real-world skills through games

Avi Muchnick (video)

Cloud-based multimedia editing software

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