Сomparison of methods for identifying user roles in online social networks
The development of social media has led to its use as a tool for propaganda and mobilising users to participate in protest movements and political actions aimed at undermining the foundations of society and overthrowing the current government. The impact on social media by the organisers of protest movements has become increasingly targeted and organised. In the context of ensuring public safety and countering destructive influences on social media, it is becoming increasingly important to identify the structure of purposeful impact on social media. Important elements of this structure are the roles played by social network users who participate in the protest movement. The paper presents the data of a survey of the social network VKontakte users in Perm region, who have published protest-related materials during the year 2020. Descriptions of the roles of social network users based on data on their publication activity are presented. Existing methods of identifying the roles of online social network users based on clustering and neural network classification are described. Problems associated with the preparation of datasets for qualitative training of neural networks are indicated. The authors have researched user roles using different clustering methods, and proposed original methods of numerical evaluation of user roles and expert neural network classification of user roles based on artificially synthesized datasets. The results of comparison of different clustering methods, numerical estimation method and expert neural network classification method are presented, their advantages and disadvantages are indicated. High correlation between numerical evaluation method and expert neural network classification method is shown. It is noted that the effectiveness of expert neural network classification of roles of users in social networks is higher than that of various clustering methods. In conclusion, the optimum areas of application of the proposed methods for classifying the roles of social network users are indicated and the directions for further research are outlined.