Matching entities across online social networks Academic Article uri icon


  • Online Social Networks (OSNs), such as Facebook and Twitter, have become an integral part of our daily lives. There are hundreds of OSNs, each with its own focus in that each offers particular services and functionalities. Recent studies show that many OSN users create several accounts on multiple OSNs using the same or different personal information. Collecting all the available data of an individual from several OSNs and fusing it into a single profile can be useful for many purposes. In this paper, we introduce novel machine learning based methods for solving the Entity Resolution (ER), a problem for matching user profiles across multiple OSNs. The presented methods are able to match between two user profiles from two different OSNs based on supervised learning techniques, which use features extracted from each one of the user profiles. By using the extracted features and supervised learning techniques, we developed classifiers which can perform entity matching between two profiles for the following scenarios: (a) matching entities across two OSNs; (b) searching for a user by similar name; and (c) de-anonymizing a user's identity. The constructed classifiers were tested by using data collected from two popular OSNs, Facebook and Xing. We then evaluated the classifiers' performances using various evaluation measures, such as true and false positive rates, accuracy, and the Area Under the receiver operator Curve (AUC). The constructed classifiers were evaluated and their classification performance measured by AUC was quite remarkable, with an AUC of up to 0.982 and an accuracy of up to 95.9% in identifying user profiles across two OSNs.

publication date

  • January 1, 2016