Preference-oriented Social Networks: Group Recommendation and Inference


Social networks facilitate a variety of social, economic, and political interactions. Homophily and social influence suggest that preferences (e.g., over products, services, political parties) are likely to be correlated among people whom directly interact in a social network. We develop a model, preference-oriented social networks, that captures such correlations of individual preferences, where preferences take the form of rankings over a set of options. We develop probabilistic inference methods for predicting individual preferences given observed social connections and partial observations of the preferences of others in the network. We exploit these predictions in a social choice context to make group decisions or recommendations even when the preferences of some group members are unobserved. Experiments demonstrate the effectiveness of our algorithms and the improvements made possible by accounting for social ties.

In Proceedings of the 9th ACM Conference on Recommender Systems (RecSys’15).