We present a new model for reasoning about the way information is shared among friends in a social network and the resulting ways in which the social network fragments. Our model formalizes the intuition that revealing personal information in social settings involves a trade-off between the benefits of sharing information with friends, and the risks that additional gossiping will propagate it to someone with whom one is not on friendly terms but who is within one's community. We study the behavior of rational agents in such a situation, and we characterize the existence and computability of stable information-sharing configurations, in which agents do not have an incentive to change the set of partners with whom they share information. We analyze the implications of these stable configurations for social welfare and the resulting fragmentation of the social network.
- Information propagation
- Social networks