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Fairness in online social network timelines: Measurements, models and mechanism design

Hargreaves, E and Agosti, C and Menasché, D and Neglia, G and Reiffers-Masson, A and Altman, E (2019) Fairness in online social network timelines: Measurements, models and mechanism design. In: Performance Evaluation, 129 . pp. 15-39. ISSN 01665316

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Official URL: https://doi.org/10.1016/j.peva.2018.09.009


Facebook News Feed personalization algorithm has a significant impact, on a daily basis, on the lifestyle, mood and opinion of millions of Internet users. Nonetheless, the behavior of such algorithm lacks transparency, motivating measurements, modeling and analysis in order to understand and improve its properties. In this paper, we propose a reproducible methodology encompassing measurements, an analytical model and a fairness-based News Feed design. The model leverages the versatility and analytical tractability of time-to-live (TTL) counters to capture the visibility and occupancy of publishers over a News Feed. Measurements are used to parameterize and to validate the expressive power of the proposed model. Then, we conduct a what–if analysis to assess the visibility and occupancy bias incurred by users against a baseline derived from the model. Our results indicate that a significant bias exists and it is more prominent at the top position of the News Feed. In addition, we find that the bias is non-negligible even for users that are deliberately set as neutral with respect to their political views, motivating the proposal of a novel and more transparent fairness-based News Feed design.

Item Type: Journal Article
Publication: Performance Evaluation
Publisher: Elsevier B.V.
Additional Information: The copyright of this article belongs to the Author(s).
Keywords: Bias; Facebook; Fairness; Measurements; Social networks; Timelines
Department/Centre: Division of Electrical Sciences > Computer Science & Automation
Division of Electrical Sciences > Electrical Engineering
Date Deposited: 02 Nov 2022 06:08
Last Modified: 02 Nov 2022 06:08
URI: https://eprints.iisc.ac.in/id/eprint/77749

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