Influence Maximization in Social Networks When Negative Opinions May Emerge and Propagate

Wei Chen, Alex Collins, Rachel Cummings, Te Ke, Zhenming Liu, David Rincon, Xiaorui Sun, Yajun Wang, Wei Wei, and Yifei Yuan

October 2010

Influence maximization, defined by Kempe, Kleinberg, and Tardos (2003), is the problem of finding a small set of seed nodes in a social network that maximizes the spread of influence under certain influence cascade models. In this paper, we propose an extension to the independent cascade model that incorporates the emergence and propagation of negative opinions. The new model has an explicit parameter called quality factor to model the natural behavior of people turning negative to a product due to product defects. Our model incorporates negativity bias (negative opinions usually dominate over positive opinions) commonly acknowledged in the social psychology literature. The model maintains some nice properties such as submodularity, which allows a greedy approximation algorithm for maximizing positive influence within a ratio of 1-1/e. We define a quality sensitivity ratio (qs-ratio) of influence graphs and show a tight bound of *Θ(√n/k)* on the qs-ratio, where n is the number of nodes in the network and k is the number of seeds selected, which indicates that seed selection is sensitive to the quality factor for general graphs. We design an efficient algorithm to compute influence in tree structures, which is nontrivial due to the negativity bias in the model. We use this algorithm as the core to build a heuristic algorithm for influence maximization for general graphs. Through simulations, we show that our heuristic algorithm has matching influence with a standard greedy approximation algorithm while being orders of magnitude faster.

Publication type | TechReport |

Number | MSR-TR-2010-137 |

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