Research with DEX: Detecting social capitalists on Twitter using similarity measures

We would like today to share a very interesting article published by Nicolas Dugué and Anthony Perez from the University of Orleans about the detection of social capitalists on Twitter.

Social capitalists are those users that try to gain visibility by following users regardless of their content. Social capitalists are not healthy for social networks as they help spammers to gain visibility and may mislead influence detection.

In the article, they show that social capitalists can be detected using similarity measures, and that there is no need to analyze the tweets of the users, but rather the graph topology.

Another aim of the research was to focus on efficient & high-level techniques to store and handle very large graphs. After unsuccessfully evaluating SQL and other NOSQL technologies, such as Cassandra, they moved to graph databases which are better suited to quickly answer questions like retrieving the neighborhood of the nodes, which is essential in the computation of their algorithms. They chose DEX because in their own words “meets their requirements of efficiency and storage of large graphs” and “appeared as viable for several reasons: high-performance and graph oriented, a high-level API, and well-documented”. Nicolas Dugué and Anthony Perez research uses the Twitter graph, a spam graph and a list of 100.000 potential social capitalists: “using DEX we were able to store a graph containing about 15M vertices and 1B arcs”.

Some of the techniques used by social capitalists are “follow me and I follow you” or “I follow you, follow me”, making that the most of the users they follow should follow them back (overlap). On the other side, spammers wish to accumulate followers and then spread spam links. A previous paper about link-farming on Twitter and focus on spammers by Gosh et al introduced social capitalists as the users who most respond to request by spammers. Nicolas Dugué and Anthony Perez, use the previous results to contrast theirs using the proposed new faster detection techniques, obtaining an even bigger list of social capitalists.

To learn more about the detection of social capitalists, we highly engage you to read their article here:

If you would also like to use DEX to power your research do not hesitate to contact us and request a free research license to join the research program!

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