Friendship Inference in Mobile Social Networks: Exploiting Multi-Source Information With Two-Stage Deep Learning Framework

Yi Zhao, Meina Qiao, Haiyang Wang, Rui Zhang, Dan Wang, Ke Xu

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


With the tremendous growth of mobile social networks (MSNs), people are highly relying on it to connect with friends and further expand their social circles. However, the conventional friendship inference techniques have issues handling such a large yet sparse multi-source data. The related friend recommendation systems are therefore suffering from reduced accuracy and limited scalability. To address this issue, we propose a Two-stage Deep learning framework for Friendship Inference, namely TDFI. This approach enables MSNs to exploit multi-source information simultaneously, rather than hierarchically. Therefore, there is no need to manually set which information is more important and the order in which the various information is applied. In details, we apply an Extended Adjacency Matrix (EAM) to represent the multi-source information. We then adopt an improved Deep Auto-Encoder Network (iDAEN) to extract the fused feature vector for each user. Our framework also provides an improved Deep Siamese Network (iDSN) to measure user similarity. To provide a substantial description and evaluation of the proposed methodology, we evaluate the effectiveness and robustness on three large-scale real-world datasets. Trace-driven evaluation results demonstrate that TDFI can effectively handle the sparse multi-source data while providing better accuracy for friendship inference. Through the comparison with numerous state-of-the-art methods, we find that TDFI can achieve superior performance via real-world multi-source information. Meanwhile, it demonstrates that the proposed pipeline can not only integrate structural information and attribute information, but also be compatible with different attribute information, which further enhances the overall applicability of friend-recommendation systems under information-rich MSNs.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)542-557
Number of pages16
JournalIEEE/ACM Transactions on Networking
Issue number2
StatePublished - Apr 1 2023

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:


  • Mobile social networks
  • deep learning
  • friendship inference
  • multi-source information


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