January 2016: Cross-Platform Identification of Anonymous Identical Users in Multiple Social Media Networks

posted Jan 20, 2016, 12:22 PM by Symeon Papadopoulos
Xiaoping Zhou, Xun Liang, Haiyan Zhang, Yuefeng Ma, "Cross-Platform Identification of Anonymous Identical Users in Multiple Social Media Networks", IEEE Transactions on Knowledge & Data Engineering, vol.28, no. 2, pp. 411-424, Feb. 2016, doi:10.1109/TKDE.2015.2485222

Abstract: The last few years have witnessed the emergence and evolution of a vibrant research stream on a large variety of online social media network (SMN) platforms. Recognizing anonymous, yet identical users among multiple SMNs is still an intractable problem. Clearly, cross-platform exploration may help solve many problems in social computing in both theory and applications. Since public profiles can be duplicated and easily impersonated by users with different purposes, most current user identification resolutions, which mainly focus on text mining of users’ public profiles, are fragile. Some studies have attempted to match users based on the location and timing of user content as well as writing style. However, the locations are sparse in the majority of SMNs, and writing style is difficult to discern from the short sentences of leading SMNs such as Sina Microblog and Twitter. Moreover, since online SMNs are quite symmetric, existing user identification schemes based on network structure are not effective. The real-world friend cycle is highly individual and virtually no two users share a congruent friend cycle. Therefore, it is more accurate to use a friendship structure to analyze cross-platform SMNs. Since identical users tend to set up partial similar friendship structures in different SMNs, we proposed the Friend Relationship-Based User Identification (FRUI) algorithm. FRUI calculates a match degree for all candidate User Matched Pairs (UMPs), and only UMPs with top ranks are considered as identical users. We also developed two propositions to improve the efficiency of the algorithm. Results of extensive experiments demonstrate that FRUI performs much better than current network structure-based algorithms.