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When Recommendation Goes Wrong - Anomalous Link Discovery in Recommendation Networks

Michael Schueppert
Jack Saalweachter
Mayur Thakur
Proceedings of the 22th ACM SIGKDD International Conference on Knowledge Discovery and Data Mining (2016)


We present a secondary ranking system to find and remove erroneous suggestions from a geospatial recommendation system. We discover such anomalous links by “double checking” the recommendation system’s output to ensure that it is both structurally cohesive, and semantically consistent. Our approach is designed for the Google Related Places Graph, a geographic recommendation system which provides results for hundreds of millions of queries a day. We model the quality of a recommendation between two geographic entities as a function of their structure in the Related Places Graph, and their semantic relationship in the Google Knowledge Graph. To evaluate our approach, we perform a large scale human evaluation of such an anomalous link detection system. For the long tail of unpopular entities, our models can predict the recommendations users will consider poor with up to 42% higher mean precision (29 raw points) than the live system. Results from our study reveal that structural and semantic features capture different facets of relatedness to human judges. We characterize our performance with a qualitative analysis detailing the categories of real-world anomalies our system is able to detect, and provide a discussion of additional applications of our method.