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Existing social computing systems, such as social media and workplace software, enable two broad classes of problem: 1) interpersonal harm users cause one another (e.g., online harassment) and 2) institutional abuse and exploitation of users (e.g., companies’ surveillance of users). Both types of issues are closely related with people’s consent decisions (e.g., user-to-user: "Do I decide to interact with this person on social media?"; user-to-company: "Do I opt in to platforms’ tracking for targeted ads?"). However, despite its relevance to socio-technical problems, the concept of consent has not been fully expored to design safety tools that respect users’ consent boundaries, nor has it been able to result in informed privacy choices (e.g., overwhelming consent popups). In my research, I rethink the definition of consent by drawing from feminist and Human-Computer Interaction literature to reimagine social software that people can use with enthusiastic consent. Based on such understanding of consent-centered software design, I combine systems-building and empirical studies (e.g., experiment, field deployment), to design and build privacy/safety tools and governance mechanisms for enabling safer online interactions.

I am a Ph.D. candidate at the University of Michigan School of Information and the Division of Computer Science & Engineering. I am fortunate to be advised by Dr. Nikola Banovic and Dr. Florian Schaub. I am also part of the Human-Centered Computing Lab. My work is supported by a Barbour Scholarship and a Meta Research PhD Fellowship.

  • Below is a list of recent updates, which admittedly focuses on good news. I think it's important to share bad news as well, to normalize vulnerabilities, rejections, and failures. While it's far from perfect, you can glimpse more of my honest thoughts on the here (I keep a private diary where I record my thoughts about PhD and academia, but I sometimes share a tiny slice of them there). If you're a student who wants to discuss struggles in academia, please don't hesitate to reach out.
  • 04/06/2023: I feel thankful and lucky to receive the Meta PhD Fellowship (Privacy & Data Practices)! Immensely grateful for the support of my family, mentors, and friends! (And to be transparent about rejections: this was my fourth time applying. I was also rejected from other fellowships multiple times. ;))
  • 04/02/2023: A paper led by Paul Resnick (of which I co-authored as the third author) was accepted to Collective Intelligence.
  • 03/10/2023: In March, I am giving a talk at CMU's Current Topics in Privacy Seminar and also at a panel organized by Yale Law School's Social Media Governance Initiative.
  • See all updates.

Selected First Author Publications

Less is Not More: Improving Findability and Actionability of Privacy Controls for Online Behavioral Advertising
Jane Im, Ruiyi Wang, Weikun Lyu, Nick Cook, Hana Habib, Lorrie Cranor, Nikola Banovic, Florian Schaub
CHI 2023

Yes: Affirmative Consent as a Theoretical Framework for Understanding and Imagining Social Platforms
Jane Im, Jill Dimond, Melody Berton, Una Lee, Katherine Mustelier, Mark Ackerman, Eric Gilbert
CHI 2021 Best Paper Honorable Mention
I want to give a shoutout to the incredible Una Lee (who is one of the paper's co-authors). This work builds on and could not have existed without Una's impactful work on consentful technologies. Una introduced the term "consentful technology"—which inspired many people, including me.✨

See all publications/projects

This site is made by Jane Im, code here. Last updated 06/03/2023