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Volume 8 Issue 1


Preserving Communities in Anonymized Social Networks

Alina Campan(a),(*), Yasmeen Alufaisan(b), Traian Marius Truta(a)

Transactions on Data Privacy 8:1 (2015) 55 - 87

Abstract, PDF

(a) Department of Computer Science, Northern Kentucky University, Highland Heights, KY 41099, USA.

(b) Department of Computer Science, The University of Texas at Dallas, Richardson, TX 75080, USA.

e-mail:campana1 @nku.edu; yxa130630 @utdallas.edu; trutat1 @nku.edu


Abstract

Social media and social networks are embedded in our society to a point that could not have been imagined only ten years ago. Facebook, LinkedIn, and Twitter are already well known social networks that have a large audience in all age groups. The amount of data that those social sites gather from their users is continually increasing and this data is very valuable for marketing, research, and various other purposes. At the same time, this data usually contain a significant amount of sensitive information which should be protected against unauthorized disclosure. To protect the privacy of individuals, this data must be anonymized such that the risk of re-identification of specific individuals is very low. In this paper we study if anonymized social networks preserve existing communities from the original social networks. To perform this study, we introduce two approaches to measure the community preservation between the initial network and its anonymized version. In the first approach we simply count how many nodes from the original communities remained in the same community after the processes of anonymization and de-anonymization. In the second approach we consider the community preservation for each node individually. Specifically, for each node, we compare the original and final communities to which the node belongs. To anonymize social networks we use two models, namely, k-anonymity for social networks and k-degree anonymity. To determine communities in social networks we use an existing community detection algorithm based on modularity quality function. Our experiments on publically available datasets show that anonymized social networks satisfactorily preserve the community structure of their original networks.

* Corresponding author.

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ISSN: 1888-5063; ISSN (Digital): 2013-1631; D.L.:B-11873-2008; Web Site: http://www.tdp.cat/
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Vicenç Torra, Last modified: 10 : 29 June 27 2015.