Trust and Manipulation in Social Networks

33 Pages Posted: 28 May 2014

See all articles by Manuel Foerster

Manuel Foerster

University of Hamburg - Department of Economics

Ana Mauleon

Université Saint-Louis - Bruxelles; Catholic University of Louvain (UCL) - Center for Operations Research and Econometrics (CORE)

Vincent J. Vannetelbosch

Center for Operations Research and Econometrics (CORE)

Date Written: May 27, 2014

Abstract

We investigate the role of manipulation in a model of opinion formation. Agents repeatedly communicate with their neighbors in the social network, can exert effort to manipulate the trust of others, and update their opinions about some common issue by taking weighted averages of neighbors' opinions. The incentives to manipulate are given by the agents' preferences. We show that manipulation can modify the trust structure and lead to a connected society. Manipulation fosters opinion leadership, but the manipulated agent may even gain influence on the long-run opinions. Finally, we investigate the tension between information aggregation and spread of misinformation.

Keywords: Social networks, Trust, Manipulation, Opinion leadership, Consensus, Wisdom of Crowds

JEL Classification: D83, D85, Z13

Suggested Citation

Foerster, Manuel and Mauleon Echeverria, Ana Carmen and Vannetelbosch, Vincent J., Trust and Manipulation in Social Networks (May 27, 2014). FEEM Working Paper No. 50.2014. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2442297 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.2442297

Manuel Foerster (Contact Author)

University of Hamburg - Department of Economics ( email )

Von-Melle-Park 5
room 2128 C rise
Hamburg, 20146
Germany

Ana Carmen Mauleon Echeverria

Université Saint-Louis - Bruxelles ( email )

Brussels, 1000
Belgium

Catholic University of Louvain (UCL) - Center for Operations Research and Econometrics (CORE) ( email )

34 Voie du Roman Pays
B-1348 Louvain-la-Neuve, b-1348
Belgium

Vincent J. Vannetelbosch

Center for Operations Research and Econometrics (CORE) ( email )

34 Voie du Roman Pays
1348 Louvain-la-Neuve, 1348
Belgium

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