The information cost of manipulation-resistance in recommender systems

Resnick, P. and Sami, R. 2008. The information cost of manipulation-resistance in recommender systems. In Proceedings of the 2008 ACM Conference on Recommender Systems (Lausanne, Switzerland). RecSys '08. ACM, New York, NY, 147-154. DOI=



Attackers may seek to manipulate recommender systems in order to promote or suppress certain items. Existing defenses based on analysis of ratings also discard useful information from honest raters. In this paper, we show that this is unavoidable and provide a lower bound on how much information must be discarded. We use an information-theoretic framework to exhibit a fundamental tradeoff between manipulation-resistance and optimal use of genuine ratings in recommender systems. We define a recommender system to be (n, c)-robust if an attacker with n sybil identities cannot cause more than a limited amount c units of damage to predictions. We prove that any robust recommender system must also discard Ω(log (n/c)) units of useful information from each genuine rater.