One size does not fit all : profiling personalized time-evolving user behaviors

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Devineni, P., Papalexakis, E., Koutra, D., Doğruöz, A.S., & Faloutsos, M.
Jana Diesner, Elena Ferrari and Guandong Xu
Proceedings of the 2017 IEEE/ACM International Conference on Advances in Social Networks Analysis and Mining 2017
Association for Computing Machinery (ACM) (New York)
2017 IEEE/ACM International Conference on Advances in Social Networks Analysis and Mining (ASONAM '17) (Sydney, Australia)
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Given the set of social interactions of a user, how can we detect changes in interaction patterns over time? While most previous work has focused on studying network-wide properties and spotting outlier users, the dynamics of individual user interactions remain largely unexplored. This work sets out to explore those dynamics in a way that is minimally invasive to privacy, thus, avoids to rely on the textual content of user posts---except for validation. Our contributions are two-fold. First, in contrast to previous studies, we challenge the use of a fixed interval of observation. We introduce and empirically validate the "Temporal Asymmetry Hypothesis", which states that appropriate observation intervals should vary both among users and over time for the same user. We validate this hypothesis using eight different datasets, including email, messaging, and social networks data. Second, we propose iNET, a comprehensive analytic and visualization framework which provides personalized insights into user behavior and operates in a streaming fashion. iNET learns personalized baseline behaviors of users and uses them to identify events that signify changes in user behavior. We evaluate the effectiveness of iNET by analyzing more than half a million interactions from Facebook users. Labeling of the identified changes in user behavior showed that iNET is able to capture a wide spectrum of exogenous and endogenous events, while the baselines are less diverse in nature and capture only 66% of that spectrum. Furthermore, iNET exhibited the highest precision (95%) compared to all competing approaches.