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Trust and manipulation in social networks

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Manuel Förster, Ana Mauleon, Vincent Vannetelbosch
Network Science
Issue number: 
Volume 4, Issue 2
Cambridge University Press
We investigate the role of manipulation in boundedly rational opinion dynamics. Agents are subject to persuasion bias and repeatedly communicate with their neighbors in a social network. They can exert effort to manipulate trust in the opinions of others in their favor and update their opinions about some issue of common interest by taking weighted averages of neighbors' opinions. We show that manipulation can connect a segregated society and thus lead to mutual consensus. Second, we show that manipulation fosters opinion leadership; and surprisingly agents with low trust in their own opinion might get more influential even by being manipulated. Finally, comparative simulations reveal that manipulation is beneficial to information aggregation when preferences and abilities for manipulation are homogeneous, but detrimental in case abilities are concentrated at few powerful agents.
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