Accepted Papers

Active Opinion Maximization in Social Networks

Xinyue Liu (Worcester Polytechnic Institute); Xiangnan Kong (Worcester Polytechnic Institute); Philip Yu (University of Illinois at Chicago)

Influence maximization (IM) targets at maximizing the number of users being aware of a product by finding a set of seed users to expose in a social network. Previous IM models mainly focus on optimizing the spread of product consumption, which assumes that all users are potential customers and more exposures lead to better profit. However, in the real-world scenario, some people may not like the product and may express negative opinions after consuming, which damage the product reputation and harm the long-term profit. Only a portion of users in the social network, called the target user, is the potential customer that likes the product and will spread positive opinion. In this paper, we consider a problem called AcTive Opinion Maximization (ATOM), where the goal is to find a set of seed users to maximize the overall opinion spread toward a target product in a multi-round campaign. Different from previous works, we do not assume the user opinion is known before consumption, but should be derived from user preference data. The ATOM problem has essential applications in viral marketing, such as reputation building and precision advertising. Given its significance, ATOM problem is profoundly challenging due to the hardness of estimating user opinion in a multi-round campaign. Moreover, the process of opinion estimation and influence propagation intertwine with each other, which requires the model to consider the two components collectively. We propose an active learning framework called CONE (aCtive OpinioN Estimator) to address above challenges. Experimental results on two real-world datasets demonstrate that CONE improves the total opinion spread in a social network.

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