Relationship Identification Across Heterogeneous Online Social Networks

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Abstract

In the era of the social web, many people manage their social relationships through various online social networking services. It has been found that identifying the types of social relationships among users in online social networks facilitates the marketing of products via electronic “word of mouth.” However, it is a great challenge to identify the types of social relationships, given very limited information in a social network. In this article, we study how to identify the types of relationships across multiple heterogeneous social networks and examine if combining certain information from different social networks can help improve the identification accuracy. The main contribution of our research is that we develop a novel decision tree initiated random walk model, which takes into account both global network structure and local user behavior to bootstrap the performance of relationship identification. Experiments conducted based on two real-world social networks, Sina Weibo and Jiepang, demonstrate that the proposed model achieves an average accuracy of 92.0%, significantly outperforming other baseline methods. Our experiments also confirm the effectiveness of combining information from multiple social networks. Moreover, our results reveal that human mobility features indicating location categories, coincidence, and check-in patterns are among the most discriminative features for relationship identification.

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