Graph Neural Networks for Friend Ranking in Large-scale Social Platforms

Aravind Sankar, Yozen Liu, Jun Yu, Neil Shah
Event WWW 2021
Research Areas Graph Machine Learning, User Modeling & Personalization


Graph Neural Networks (GNNs) have recently enabled substantial advances in graph learning. Despite their rich representational capacity, GNNs remain under-explored for large-scale social modeling applications. One such industrially ubiquitous application is friend suggestion: recommending users other candidate users to befriend, to improve user connectivity, retention and engagement. However, modeling such user-user interactions on large-scale social platforms poses unique challenges: such graphs often have heavy-tailed degree distributions, where a significant fraction of users are inactive and have limited structural and engagement information. Moreover, users interact with different functionalities, communicate with diverse groups, and have multifaceted interaction patterns. We study the application of GNNs for friend suggestion, providing the first investigation of GNN design for this task, to our knowledge. To leverage the rich knowledge of in-platform actions, we formulate friend suggestion as multi-faceted friend ranking with multi-modal user features and link communication features. We design a neural architecture GraFRank to learn expressive user representations from multiple feature modalities and user-user interactions. Specifically, GraFRank employs modality-specific neighbor aggregators and cross-modality attentions to learn multi-faceted user representations. We conduct experiments on two multi-million user datasets from Snapchat, a leading mobile social platform, where GraFRank outperforms several state-of-the-art approaches on candidate retrieval (by 30% MRR) and ranking (by 20% MRR) tasks. Moreover, our qualitative analysis indicates notable gains for critical populations of less-active and low-degree users.