Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Social media: Finding your friends and following them to where you are

Date:
March 6, 2012
Source:
University of Rochester
Summary:
Computer scientists have shown that a great deal can be learned about individuals from their interactions in online social media, even when those individuals hide their Twitter messages and other posts.

A man -- or person -- is known by the company he keeps. That old proverb takes on new meaning in the 21st century.

Computer scientists at the University of Rochester have shown that a great deal can be learned about individuals from their interactions in online social media, even when those individuals hide their Twitter messages (tweets) and other posts. The paper, "Finding Your Friends and Following Them to Where You Are," by professors Henry Kautz and Jeffrey Bigham, and graduate student Adam Sadilek, won the Best Paper Award at the Fifth Association for Computing Machinery (ACM) International Conference on Web Search and Data Mining, held in Seattle, Washington.

The researchers were able to determine a person's location within a 100 meter radius with 85 percent accuracy by using only the location of that person's friends. They were also able to predict a person's Twitter friendships with high accuracy, even when that person's profile was kept private.

In one experiment, Sadilek, Kautz, and Bigham studied the messages and data of heavy Twitter users from New York City and Los Angeles to develop a computer model for determining human mobility and location. The users, who sent out 100 or more tweets per month, had public profiles and enabled GPS location sharing. The location data of selected individuals was sampled over a two-week period, and then was ignored as the researchers tried to pinpoint their locations using only the information from their Twitter friends. In more than eight out of ten instances, they successfully figured out where the individuals lived to within one city block.

"Once you learn about relationships from peoples' tweets, it makes senses that you can track them," said Sadilek, the project's first author. "My fiancιe may be a good predictor of my location because we have breakfast together every morning."

In the other experiment, the scientists used the same data sets from New York and Los Angeles, but ran the models in reverse. They made full use of individuals' location data and the content of their tweets, but ignored their lists of followers as they set out to predict people's Twitter friendships (mutual following). When they compared the predictions of their models with the actual network of friendships, the researchers found they were correct 90 percent of the time.

"If people spend a lot of time together online and talk about the same things," said Sadilek, "they're more likely to be friends."

The personal nature of the messages made it a little easier for the researchers to determine relationships. Sadilek explains that heavy Twitter users spend a great deal of time talking about themselves.

"It's harder than most people think it is to protect our privacy online," said Henry Kautz, chairman of the Department of Computer Science, "but there are ways to use this new reality for good."

The team will now apply their models to such tasks as tracking and predicting the spread of communicable diseases. If people and their friends in one location tweet about having a fever and not feeling well, it may be an indication of a flu outbreak.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by University of Rochester. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

University of Rochester. "Social media: Finding your friends and following them to where you are." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 6 March 2012. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/03/120306131638.htm>.
University of Rochester. (2012, March 6). Social media: Finding your friends and following them to where you are. ScienceDaily. Retrieved October 23, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/03/120306131638.htm
University of Rochester. "Social media: Finding your friends and following them to where you are." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/03/120306131638.htm (accessed October 23, 2014).

Share This



More Computers & Math News

Thursday, October 23, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Chameleon Camouflage to Give Tanks Cloaking Capabilities

Chameleon Camouflage to Give Tanks Cloaking Capabilities

Reuters - Innovations Video Online (Oct. 22, 2014) — Inspired by the way a chameleon changes its colour to disguise itself; scientists in Poland want to replace traditional camouflage paint with thousands of electrochromic plates that will continuously change colour to blend with its surroundings. The first PL-01 concept tank prototype will be tested within a few years, with scientists predicting that a similar technology could even be woven into the fabric of a soldiers' clothing making them virtually invisible to the naked eye. Matthew Stock reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Internet of Things Aims to Smarten Your Life

Internet of Things Aims to Smarten Your Life

AP (Oct. 22, 2014) — As more and more Bluetooth-enabled devices are reaching consumers, developers are busy connecting them together as part of the Internet of Things. (Oct. 22) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Google's Inbox Is The Latest Gmail Competitor

Google's Inbox Is The Latest Gmail Competitor

Newsy (Oct. 22, 2014) — Google's new e-mail app is meant for greater personalization and allows users to better categorize their mail, but Gmail isn't going away just yet. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Free Math App Is A Teacher's Worst Nightmare

Free Math App Is A Teacher's Worst Nightmare

Newsy (Oct. 22, 2014) — New photo-recognition software from MicroBlink, called PhotoMath, solves linear equations and simple math problems with step-by-step results. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
 
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:  

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories

 

Space & Time

Matter & Energy

Computers & Math

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:  

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile iPhone Android Web
Follow Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins