Cross-Site Prediction on Social Influence for Cold-Start Users in Online Social Networks

Qingyuan Gong, Yang Chen, Xinlei He, Yu Xiao, Pan Hui, Xin Wang, Xiaoming Fu

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

16 Citations (Scopus)
329 Downloads (Pure)


Online social networks (OSNs) have become a commodity in our daily life. As an important concept in sociology and viral marketing, the study of social influence has received a lot of attentions in academia. Most of the existing proposals work well on dominant OSNs, such as Twitter, since these sites are mature and many users have generated a large amount of data for the calculation of social influence. Unfortunately, cold-start users on emerging OSNs generate much less activity data, which makes it challenging to identify potential influential users among them. In this work, we propose a practical solution to predict whether a cold-start user will become an influential user on an emerging OSN, by opportunistically leveraging the user’s information on dominant OSNs. A supervised machine learning-based approach is adopted, transferring the knowledge of both the descriptive information and dynamic activities on dominant OSNs. Descriptive features are extracted from the public data on a user’s homepage. In particular, to extract useful information from the fine-grained dynamic activities that cannot be represented by the statistical indices, we use deep learning technologies to deal with the sequential activity data. Using the real data of millions of users collected from Twitter (a dominant OSN) and Medium (an emerging OSN), we evaluate the performance of our proposed framework to predict prospective influential users. Our system achieves a high prediction performance based on different social influence definitions.

Original languageEnglish
Article number6
Number of pages23
JournalACM Transactions on the Web
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - May 2021
MoE publication typeA1 Journal article-refereed


  • social influence
  • online social networks


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