Gaps in information access in social networks

Benjamin Fish, Sorelle A. Friedler, Ashkan Bashardoust, Carlos Scheidegger, Danah Boyd, Suresh Venkatasubramanian

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contribution

4 Scopus citations

Abstract

The study of influence maximization in social networks has largely ignored disparate effects these algorithms might have on the individuals contained in the social network. Individuals may place a high value on receiving information, e.g. job openings or advertisements for loans. While well-connected individuals at the center of the network are likely to receive the information that is being distributed through the network, poorly connected individuals are systematically less likely to receive the information, producing a gap in access to the information between individuals. In this work, we study how best to spread information in a social network while minimizing this access gap. We propose to use the maximin social welfare function as an objective function, where we maximize the minimum probability of receiving the information under an intervention. We prove that in this setting this welfare function constrains the access gap whereas maximizing the expected number of nodes reached does not. We also investigate the difficulties of using the maximin, and present hardness results and analysis for standard greedy strategies. Finally, we investigate practical ways of optimizing for the maximin, and give empirical evidence that a simple greedy-based strategy works well in practice.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationThe Web Conference 2019 - Proceedings of the World Wide Web Conference, WWW 2019
PublisherAssociation for Computing Machinery, Inc
Pages480-490
Number of pages11
ISBN (Electronic)9781450366748
DOIs
StatePublished - May 13 2019
Event2019 World Wide Web Conference, WWW 2019 - San Francisco, United States
Duration: May 13 2019May 17 2019

Publication series

NameThe Web Conference 2019 - Proceedings of the World Wide Web Conference, WWW 2019

Conference

Conference2019 World Wide Web Conference, WWW 2019
CountryUnited States
CitySan Francisco
Period5/13/195/17/19

Keywords

  • Fairness
  • Influence maximization
  • Social networks

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Computer Networks and Communications
  • Software

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