Modeling the Interplay of People's Location, Interactions, and Social Ties / 3067
Adam Sadilek, Henry Kautz, Jeffrey P. Bigham
Location plays an essential role in our lives, bridging our online and offline worlds. This paper explores the interplay of people's location, interactions, and social ties within a large real-world dataset. We present and evaluate Flap, a system that solves two intimately related tasks: link and location prediction in online social networks. For link prediction, Flap infers social ties by considering patterns in friendship formation, the content of people's messages, and user location. We show that while each component is a weak predictor of friendship alone, combining them results in a strong model---accurately identifying the majority of friendships. For location prediction, Flap implements a scalable probabilistic model of human mobility, where we treat users with known GPS positions as noisy sensors of the location of their friends. We explore supervised and unsupervised learning scenarios, and focus on the efficiency of both learning and inference. We evaluate Flap on a large sample of highly active users from two distinct geographical areas and show that it (1) reconstructs the entire friendship graph with high accuracy even when no edges are given; and (2) infers people's fine-grained location, even when they keep their data private and we can only access the location of their friends. Our models significantly outperform current approaches to either task.