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Assessing the credibility of online social network messages.ABSTRACT Information gathered socially online is a key feature of the growth and development of modern society. Presently the Internet is a platform for the distribution of data. Millions of people use Online Social Networks daily as a tool to get updated with social, political, educational or other occurrences. In many cases information derived from an Online Social Network is acted upon and often shared with other networks, without further assessments or judgments. Many people do not check to see if the information shared is credible. A user may trust the information generated by a close friend without questioning its credibility, in contrast to a message generated by an unknown user. This work considers the concept of credibility in the wider sense, by proposing whether a user can trust the service provider or even the information itself. Two key components of credibility have been explored; trustworthiness and expertise. Credibility has been researched in the past using Twitter as a validation tool. The research was focused on automatic methods of assessing the credibility of sets of tweets using analysis of microblog postings related to trending topics to determine the credibility of tweets. This research develops a framework that can assist the assessment of the credibility of messages in Online Social Networks. Four types of credibility are explored (experienced, surface, reputed and presumed credibility) resulting in a credibility hierarchy. To determine the credibility of messages generated and distributed in Online Social Networks, a virtual network is created, which attributes nodes with individual views to generate messages in the network at random, recording data from a network and analysing the data based on the behaviour exhibited by agents (an agent-based modelling approach). The factors considered for the experiment design included; peer-to-peer networking, collaboration, opinion formation and network rewiring. The behaviour of agents, frequency in which messages are shared and used, the pathway of the messages and how this affects credibility of messages is also considered. A framework is designed and the resulting data are tested using the design. The resulting data generated validated the framework in part, supporting an approach whereby the concept of tagging the message status assists the understanding and application of the credibility hierarchy. Validation was carried out with Twitter data acquired through twitter’s Application Programming Interface (API). There were similarities in the generation and frequency of the message distributions in the network; these findings were also recorded and analysed using the framework proposed. Some limitations were encountered while acquiring data from Twitter, however, there was sufficient evidence of correlation between the simulated and real social network datasets to indicate the validity of the framework.
A novel service discovery model for decentralised online social networks.Online social networks (OSNs) have become the most popular Internet application that attracts billions of users to share information, disseminate opinions and interact with others in the online society. The unprecedented growing popularity of OSNs naturally makes using social network services as a pervasive phenomenon in our daily life. The majority of OSNs service providers adopts a centralised architecture because of its management simplicity and content controllability. However, the centralised architecture for large-scale OSNs applications incurs costly deployment of computing infrastructures and suffers performance bottleneck. Moreover, the centralised architecture has two major shortcomings: the single point failure problem and the lack of privacy, which challenges the uninterrupted service provision and raises serious privacy concerns. This thesis proposes a decentralised approach based on peer-to-peer (P2P) networks as an alternative to the traditional centralised architecture. Firstly, a self-organised architecture with self-sustaining social network adaptation has been designed to support decentralised topology maintenance. This self-organised architecture exhibits small-world characteristics with short average path length and large average clustering coefficient to support efficient information exchange. Based on this self-organised architecture, a novel decentralised service discovery model has been developed to achieve a semantic-aware and interest-aware query routing in the P2P social network. The proposed model encompasses a service matchmaking module to capture the hidden semantic information for query-service matching and a homophily-based query processing module to characterise user’s common social status and interests for personalised query routing. Furthermore, in order to optimise the efficiency of service discovery, a swarm intelligence inspired algorithm has been designed to reduce the query routing overhead. This algorithm employs an adaptive forwarding strategy that can adapt to various social network structures and achieves promising search performance with low redundant query overhead in dynamic environments. Finally, a configurable software simulator is implemented to simulate complex networks and to evaluate the proposed service discovery model. Extensive experiments have been conducted through simulations, and the obtained results have demonstrated the efficiency and effectiveness of the proposed model.