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EC Project 257859

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ROBUST Investigates the Need of an "Enemy" Button in Business Communities

At this year's World Wide Web conference (WWW 2013), the project ROBUST has presented a study made of social networking platforms containing an "Enemy" button in addition to a "Friend" button.

Online business communities as studied in the ROBUST project usually contain the "Friend" functionality that is used by users to connect with each other. As is customary in the business area, communities are reluctant to implement a corresponding "Enemy" feature for fear of introducing negativity into the community. This fear is justified in many cases, and in particular in business communities.  However, an "Enemy" function is an uncommon, but useful feature of some social networking platforms outside the business area which is used to implement more advanced functionalities in the social network. For instance, the knowledge of such negative links between users can help a social recommender system to compute more accurate recommendations of both other users and content.  

In order to find out whether the functionality of negative edges can be reproduced in a community where an "Enemy" is not wanted (such as business communities), ROBUST researchers from the University of Koblenz-Landau in Germany have studied the question:  Can the negative ties between people in a social network be predicted when (as in a business community), only positive ties are known by the system? Surprisingly, the performed study found that this is indeed possible. To do this, the study found that a certain combination of locality-based and centrality-based measures (two main classes of link analysis methods) must be used.  The detailed results of the study can be found in the research paper, which was presented at the 22nd International World Wide Web Conference.


Kunegis, Jérôme; Preusse, Julia; Schwagereit, Felix (2013): What Is the Added Value of Negative Links in Online Social Networks?. In: Proc. Int. World Wide Web Conf

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