The where and when of finding new friends

Analysis of a location-based social discovery network

Terence Chen, Mohamed Ali Kaafar, Roksana Boreli

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

26 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

With more people accessing Online Social Networks (OSN) using their mobile devices, location-based features have become an important part of the social networking. In this paper, we present the first measurement study of a new category of location-based online social networking services, a location-based social discovery (LBSD) network, that enables users to discover and communicate with nearby people. Unlike popular check-in-based social networks, LBSD allows users to publicly reveal their locations without being associated to a specific "venue" and their usage is not influenced by the incentive mechanisms of the underlying virtual community. By analyzing over 8 million user profiles and around 150 million location updates collected from a popular new LBSD network, we first present the characteristics of spatial-temporal usage patterns of the observed users, showing that 40% of updates are from the user's primary location and 80% are from their top 10 locations. We identify events that trigger bursts of growth in subscriber numbers, showing the importance of social media marketing. Finally, we investigate how usage patterns may be utilized to re-identify individuals with e.g. different identifiers or from datasets belonging to different online services. We evaluate re-identification by usage, spatial and spatial-temporal patterns and using a number of metrics and show that the best results can be achieved using location data, with a high accuracy: our experiments demonstrate that we can re-identify up-to 85% of users with a precision of 77% using monitored spatial data. Overall, we find that although users exhibit strong periodic behavior in their usage pattern and movements, the success rate of reidentification is highly dependent on the level of activeness and the lifetime of the users in the network.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationICWSM 2013
Subtitle of host publicationProceedings of the 7th International Conference on Weblogs and Social Media
Place of PublicationPalo Alto, CA
PublisherAssociation for the Advancement of Artificial Intelligence
Pages61-70
Number of pages10
Publication statusPublished - 2013
Externally publishedYes
Event7th International AAAI Conference on Weblogs and Social Media, ICWSM 2013 - Cambridge, MA, United States
Duration: 8 Jul 201311 Jul 2013

Conference

Conference7th International AAAI Conference on Weblogs and Social Media, ICWSM 2013
CountryUnited States
CityCambridge, MA
Period8/07/1311/07/13

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  • Cite this

    Chen, T., Kaafar, M. A., & Boreli, R. (2013). The where and when of finding new friends: Analysis of a location-based social discovery network. In ICWSM 2013: Proceedings of the 7th International Conference on Weblogs and Social Media (pp. 61-70). Palo Alto, CA: Association for the Advancement of Artificial Intelligence.