Limiting the Spread of Misinformation in Social Networks

Report ID: 
2010-02
Authors: 
Ceren Budak, Divyakant Agrawal, Amr El Abbadi
Date: 
2010-02-01 04:00:00

Abstract

In this work, we study the notion of competing campaigns in a social network. By modeling the spread of influence in the presence of competing campaigns, we provide neces- sary tools for applications such as emergency response where the goal is to limit the spread of misinformation. We study the problem of influence limitation where a “bad” campaign starts propagating from a certain node in the network and use the notion of limiting campaigns to counteract the effect of misinformation. The problem can be summarized as iden- tifying a subset of individuals that need to be convinced to adopt the competing (or “good”) campaign so as to minimize the number of people that adopt the “bad” campaign at the end of both propagation processes. We show that this op- timization problem is NP-hard and provide approximation guarantees for a greedy solution for various definitions of this problem by proving that they are submodular. Although the greedy algorithm is a polynomial time algorithm, for today’s large scale social networks even this solution is computation- ally very expensive. Therefore, we study the performance of the degree centrality heuristic as well as other heuristics that have implications on our specific problem. The experiments on a number of close-knit regional networks obtained from the Facebook social network show that in most cases inex- pensive heuristics do in fact compare well with the greedy approach.

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