Know your caller – The SocialCaller App!

Getting a spam call in the middle of the day is not a new problem most of us face in our day-to-day life. One often wonders on the name of the caller and to why that person is calling you. Further, getting to know “who” is calling you is good (Truecaller), but the important question still remains. “Why” the other person is calling? Might be, getting to know the name of the caller is insufficient to allow the receiver of the call to make the decision whether to attend to the call or not.

Now, how do we know why the other person is calling? Well, one good medium to answer the question is – Online social networks [1]. During our research, we observed that many Indian users post their mobile numbers on popular online social networks as Twitter and Facebook to either promote the number in context of business or to stay connected with the friends.  Therefore, a tweet / bio on Twitter or a status update on Facebook exposes the real motive of sharing the mobile number.

Further, users make the posts public (posts with their phone number), thereby making the post accessible to anyone on the Internet. We deployed a mechanism to collect all such publicly shared mobile numbers in public posts, bio, or status updates. Currently our database has around 75,000 mobile numbers collected from Twitter and Facebook.

With this big and continuously growing database, we developed SocialCaller, an Android app (v2.3+), which provides the following two functionalities. The app is available freely at Google Play store.

  • · An online app – When a call comes, the app will show the number, the Tweet, Bio or status update associated with the number, the location of the user who posted that number and the social network where it was published. This service needs Internet connectivity at the time of call. We also store how many times a number has called up other users, and therefore how many times the number was queried in the database.
  • An offline app – This service is supported even when there are no calls. In case someone gets a missed call, or need to know more about a number, he / she can use this service to query the number and the corresponding details will be presented. This service needs Internet connectivity as well.

Please feel free to download this app from the Google Play Store. In case of any suggestions or feedback, please write to pk@iiitd.ac.in

Keep Calling!

[1]: Jain, P., Jain P., and Kumaraguru, P. “Call me maybe: understanding nature and risks of sharing mobile numbers on online social networks.” Proceedings of the first ACM conference on Online social networks. ACM, 2013.

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