The YouTube Social Network

author: Zack Zhu, ETH Zurich
published: July 6, 2012,   recorded: June 2012,   views: 3983


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Today, YouTube is the largest user-driven video content provider in the world; it has become a major platform for disseminating multimedia information. A major contribution to its success comes from the user-to-user social experience that differentiates it from traditional content broadcasters. This work examines the social network aspect of YouTube by measuring the full-scale YouTube subscription graph, comment graph, and video content corpus. We find YouTube to deviate significantly from network characteristics that mark traditional online social networks, such as homophily, reciprocative linking, and assortativity. However, comparing to reported characteristics of another content-driven online social network, Twitter, YouTube is remarkably similar. Examining the social and content facets of user popularity, we find a stronger correlation between a user's social popularity and his/her most popular content as opposed to typical content popularity. Finally, we demonstrate an application of our measurements for classifying YouTube Partners, who are selected users that share YouTube's advertisement revenue. Results are motivating despite the highly imbalanced nature of the classification problem.

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