AbstractsComputer Science

Predicting Friendship Levels in Online Social Networks

by Waqar Ahmad

Institution: Blekinge Institute of Technology
Year: 2010
Keywords: datavetenskap; computer science - artificial intelligence; computer science - networks and communications; computer science - general; online social network; friendship levels; privacy concerns; data mining
Record ID: 1345913
Full text PDF: http://www.bth.se/fou/cuppsats.nsf/6753b78eb2944e0ac1256608004f0535/17cc0bc3af6d0a7cc125778900012e5d?OpenDocument


Abstract Context: Online social networks such as Facebook, Twitter, and MySpace have become the preferred interaction, entertainment and socializing facility on the Internet. However, these social network services also bring privacy issues in more limelight than ever. Several privacy leakage problems are highlighted in the literature with a variety of suggested countermeasures. Most of these measures further add complexity and management overhead for the user. One ignored aspect with the architecture of online social networks is that they do not offer any mechanism to calculate the strength of relationship between individuals. This information is quite useful to identify possible privacy threats. Objectives: In this study, we identify users’ privacy concerns and their satisfaction regarding privacy control measures provided by online social networks. Furthermore, this study explores data mining techniques to predict the levels/intensity of friendship in online social networks. This study also proposes a technique to utilize predicted friendship levels for privacy preservation in a semi-automatic privacy framework. Methods: An online survey is conducted to analyze Facebook users’ concerns as well as their interaction behavior with their good friends. On the basis of survey results, an experiment is performed to justify practical demonstration of data mining phases. Results: We found that users are concerned to save their private data. As a precautionary measure, they restrain to show their private information on Facebook due to privacy leakage fears. Additionally, individuals also perform some actions which they also feel as privacy vulnerability. This study further identifies that the importance of interaction type varies while communication. This research also discovered, “mutual friends” and “profile visits”, the two non-interaction based estimation metrics. Finally, this study also found an excellent performance of J48 and Naïve Bayes algorithms to classify friendship levels. Conclusions: The users are not satisfied with the privacy measures provided by the online social networks. We establish that the online social networks should offer a privacy mechanism which does not require a lot of privacy control effort from the users. This study also concludes that factors such as current status, interaction type need to be considered with the interaction count method in order to improve its performance. Furthermore, data mining classification algorithms are tailor-made for the prediction of friendship levels.