Abstract

Social media is rapidly becoming one of the mediums of choice for understanding the cultural pulse of a region; e.g., for identifying what the population is concerned with and what kind of help is needed in a crisis. To assess this cultural pulse it is critical to have an accurate assessment of who is saying what in social media. However, social media is also the home of malicious users engaged in disruptive, disingenuous, and potentially illegal activity. A range of users, both human and non-human, carry out such social cyber-attacks. We ask, to what extent does the presence or absence of such users influence our ability to assess the cultural pulse of a region? We conduct a series of experiments to analyze the fragility of social network assessments based on Twitter data by comparing changes in both the structural and content results when suspended users are left in and taken out. Because a Twitter account can be suspended for various reasons including spamming or spreading ideas that can lead to extremism or terrorism, we separately assess the impacts of removing apparent spam bots and apparent extremists. Experimental results demonstrate that Twitter-based network structures and content are unstable, and can be highly impacted by the removal of suspended users. Further, the results exhibit regional and temporal variation that may be related to the political situation or civil unrest. We also provides guidance on the differential impact of different types of potentially suspend-able users.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationProceedings of the 2015 IEEE/ACM International Conference on Advances in Social Networks Analysis and Mining, ASONAM 2015
PublisherAssociation for Computing Machinery, Inc
Pages9-16
Number of pages8
ISBN (Print)9781450338547
DOIs
StatePublished - Aug 25 2015
EventIEEE/ACM International Conference on Advances in Social Networks Analysis and Mining, ASONAM 2015 - Paris, France
Duration: Aug 25 2015Aug 28 2015

Other

OtherIEEE/ACM International Conference on Advances in Social Networks Analysis and Mining, ASONAM 2015
CountryFrance
CityParis
Period8/25/158/28/15

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Computer Science Applications
  • Computer Networks and Communications

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    Wei, W., Joseph, K., Liu, H., & Carley, K. M. (2015). The fragility of twitter social networks against suspended users. In Proceedings of the 2015 IEEE/ACM International Conference on Advances in Social Networks Analysis and Mining, ASONAM 2015 (pp. 9-16). Association for Computing Machinery, Inc. https://doi.org/10.1145/2808797.2809316