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Adversarial Graph Embeddings for Fair Influence Maximization over Social Networks

arXiv.org Machine Learning

Influence maximization is a widely studied topic in network science, where the aim is to reach the maximum possible number of nodes, while only targeting a small initial set of individuals. It has critical applications in many fields, including viral marketing, information propagation, news dissemination, and vaccinations. However, the objective does not usually take into account whether the final set of influenced nodes is fair with respect to sensitive attributes, such as race or gender. Here we address fair influence maximization, aiming to reach minorities more equitably. We introduce Adversarial Graph Embeddings: we co-train an auto-encoder for graph embedding and a discriminator to discern sensitive attributes. This leads to embeddings which are similarly distributed across sensitive attributes. We then find a good initial set by clustering the embeddings. We believe we are the first to use embeddings for the task of fair influence maximization. While there are typically trade-offs between fairness and influence maximization objectives, our experiments on synthetic and real-world datasets show that our approach dramatically reduces disparity while remaining competitive with state-of-the-art influence maximization methods.


How to Maximize the Spread of Social Influence: A Survey

arXiv.org Artificial Intelligence

This survey presents the main results achieved for the influence maximization problem in social networks. This problem is well studied in the literature and, thanks to its recent applications, some of which currently deployed on the field, it is receiving more and more attention in the scientific community. The problem can be formulated as follows: given a graph, with each node having a certain probability of influencing its neighbors, select a subset of vertices so that the number of nodes in the network that are influenced is maximized. Starting from this model, we introduce the main theoretical developments and computational results that have been achieved, taking into account different diffusion models describing how the information spreads throughout the network, various ways in which the sources of information could be placed, and how to tackle the problem in the presence of uncertainties affecting the network. Finally, we present one of the main application that has been developed and deployed exploiting tools and techniques previously discussed.


Fair Influence Maximization: A Welfare Optimization Approach

arXiv.org Artificial Intelligence

Several social interventions (e.g., suicide and HIV prevention) leverage social network information to maximize outreach. Algorithmic influence maximization techniques have been proposed to aid with the choice of influencers (or peer leaders) in such interventions. Traditional algorithms for influence maximization have not been designed with social interventions in mind. As a result, they may disproportionately exclude minority communities from the benefits of the intervention. This has motivated research on fair influence maximization. Existing techniques require committing to a single domain-specific fairness measure. This makes it hard for a decision maker to meaningfully compare these notions and their resulting trade-offs across different applications. We address these shortcomings by extending the principles of cardinal welfare to the influence maximization setting, which is underlain by complex connections between members of different communities. We generalize the theory regarding these principles and show under what circumstances these principles can be satisfied by a welfare function. We then propose a family of welfare functions that are governed by a single inequity aversion parameter which allows a decision maker to study task-dependent trade-offs between fairness and total influence and effectively trade off quantities like influence gap by varying this parameter. We use these welfare functions as a fairness notion to rule out undesirable allocations. We show that the resulting optimization problem is monotone and submodular and can be solved with optimality guarantees. Finally, we carry out a detailed experimental analysis on synthetic and real social networks and should that high welfare can be achieved without sacrificing the total influence significantly. Interestingly we can show there exists welfare functions that empirically satisfy all of the principles.


Influence Maximization with $\varepsilon$-Almost Submodular Threshold Functions

Neural Information Processing Systems

Influence maximization is the problem of selecting $k$ nodes in a social network to maximize their influence spread. The problem has been extensively studied but most works focus on the submodular influence diffusion models. In this paper, motivated by empirical evidences, we explore influence maximization in the non-submodular regime. In particular, we study the general threshold model in which a fraction of nodes have non-submodular threshold functions, but their threshold functions are closely upper- and lower-bounded by some submodular functions (we call them $\varepsilon$-almost submodular). We first show a strong hardness result: there is no $1/n^{\gamma/c}$ approximation for influence maximization (unless P = NP) for all networks with up to $n^{\gamma}$ $\varepsilon$-almost submodular nodes, where $\gamma$ is in (0,1) and $c$ is a parameter depending on $\varepsilon$. This indicates that influence maximization is still hard to approximate even though threshold functions are close to submodular. We then provide $(1-\varepsilon)^{\ell}(1-1/e)$ approximation algorithms when the number of $\varepsilon$-almost submodular nodes is $\ell$. Finally, we conduct experiments on a number of real-world datasets, and the results demonstrate that our approximation algorithms outperform other baseline algorithms.


Security Games on Social Networks

AAAI Conferences

Many real-world problems exhibit competitive situations in which a defender (a defending agent, agency, or organization) has to address misinformation spread by its adversary, e.g., health organizations cope with vaccination-related misinformation provided by anti-vaccination groups. The rise of social networks has allowed misinformation to be easily and quickly diffused to a large community. Taking into account knowledge of its adversary’s actions, the defender has to seek efficient strategies to limit the influence of the spread of misinformation by the opponent. In this paper, we address this problem as a blocking influence maximization problem using a game-theoretic approach. Two players strategically select a number of seed nodes in the social network that could initiate their own influence propagation. While the adversary attempts to maximize its negative influence, the defender tries to minimize this influence. We represent the problem as a zero-sum game and apply the Double Oracle algorithm to solve the game in combination with various heuristics for oracle phases. Our experimental results reveal that by using the game theoretic approach, we are able to significantly reduce the negative influence in comparison to when the defender does not do anything. In addition, we propose using an approximation of the payoff matrix, making the algorithms scalable to large real-world networks.