Recommender systems, in real-world circumstances, tend to limit user exposure to certain topics and to overexpose them to others to maximize performance. However, repeated exposure to biased content could lead to the so-called echo chamber phenomenon: especially in social network environments, people encounter only information that reflects their previous beliefs and opinions, reinforcing them. This phenomenon could have worrying consequences for society, including the spread of aggressive, unhealthy, or risky behaviors. Some persons can be more affected than others by echo-chambers. We define as sensitive the users whose behavior could be influenced by the over- or under-exposure to certain items due to the echo-chamber effect, and as influential the items that could influence the behavior of such users. In this paper, we address the problem of recommending influential items to sensitive users. We formalize the problem and propose three techniques that can be used to diversify the distributions of influential items in order to positively affect sensitive users’ behavior. Recommendations that meet this diversity criterion could potentially avoid dangerous societal consequences and simultaneously promote healthier lifestyles. We tested the proposed techniques in a real-world dataset by considering two different case studies that involved potentially aggressive and potentially depressed users. All techniques have been proven to be effective and allow high performance to be maintained while diversifying recommendations.

On the problem of recommendation for sensitive users and influential items: Simultaneously maintaining interest and diversity

Oneto L.;Ballan L.;
2023-01-01

Abstract

Recommender systems, in real-world circumstances, tend to limit user exposure to certain topics and to overexpose them to others to maximize performance. However, repeated exposure to biased content could lead to the so-called echo chamber phenomenon: especially in social network environments, people encounter only information that reflects their previous beliefs and opinions, reinforcing them. This phenomenon could have worrying consequences for society, including the spread of aggressive, unhealthy, or risky behaviors. Some persons can be more affected than others by echo-chambers. We define as sensitive the users whose behavior could be influenced by the over- or under-exposure to certain items due to the echo-chamber effect, and as influential the items that could influence the behavior of such users. In this paper, we address the problem of recommending influential items to sensitive users. We formalize the problem and propose three techniques that can be used to diversify the distributions of influential items in order to positively affect sensitive users’ behavior. Recommendations that meet this diversity criterion could potentially avoid dangerous societal consequences and simultaneously promote healthier lifestyles. We tested the proposed techniques in a real-world dataset by considering two different case studies that involved potentially aggressive and potentially depressed users. All techniques have been proven to be effective and allow high performance to be maintained while diversifying recommendations.
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: https://hdl.handle.net/11567/1143822
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