Information Networks and Social Trust

Posted: 22 Feb 2006

See all articles by Allan A. Friedman

Allan A. Friedman

Harvard University - Harvard Kennedy School (HKS)

Date Written: February 2006


Social networks can embed the necessary social information to aid in critical trust failures in Internet security. This paper argues that trust in an electronic environment is best served, not by increased complexity and new mental models, but by leveraging existing social forces. A mechanism for leveraging such trust is summarized and then modeled using an agent-based simulation. A new model of social networks based on theory and empirical results is presented and used to demonstrate the efficacy of a social-network based signaling mechanism. Simulation demonstrates that trust and common assumptions about social behavior can be leveraged to detect bad resources even in a naïve population, although some initial source of information is required.

Keywords: trust, security, social networks, networks, signaling

Suggested Citation

Friedman, Allan A., Information Networks and Social Trust (February 2006). Available at SSRN:

Allan A. Friedman (Contact Author)

Harvard University - Harvard Kennedy School (HKS) ( email )

79 John F. Kennedy Street
Cambridge, MA 02138
United States

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