Abstract: Automatic image annotation has been extensively studied, mostly from a content-based approach, whose effectiveness is restricted by the “semantic gap” between low-level image features and semantic annotations, and by the irrelevance of annotations to image content. We propose a social diffusion analysis approach to image annotation, which exploits abundant social diffusion records about how images are disseminated within online social networks. Specifically, we propose a common-interest model to analyze social diffusion records, with the assumption that the diffusion pattern of an image in social networks is highly related to the relevance between image annotations and user preferences. In our proposed model, user preferences are represented as common interests of pairwise users instead of individual user interests. We find the notion of common interests not only facilitates the analysis of social diffusion patterns, but also leads to more accurate profiling of user preferences compared to individual interests. Based on the common-interest model, we design an image annotation framework via social diffusion analysis, which consists of the mining of common interests from social diffusion records, the feature extraction from diffusion graphs and common interests, and the automatic annotation by the learning-to-rank method. Experimental results on real-world data sets show that our proposed common-interest based approach outperforms individual-interest based methods, and also achieves superior performance than state-of-the-art content-based image annotation methods.
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