Identifying significant facilitators of dark network evolution

Daning Hu, Siddharth Kaza, Hsinchun Chen

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

24 Scopus citations


Social networks evolve over time with the addition and removal of nodes and links to survive and thrive in their environments. Previous studies have shown that the linkformation process in such networks is influenced by a set of facilitators. However, there have been few empirical evaluations to determine the important facilitators. In a research partnership with law enforcement agencies, we used dynamic social-network analysis methods to examine several plausible facilitators of co-offending relationships in a large-scale narcotics network consisting of individuals and vehicles. Multivariate Cox regression and a two-proportion z-test on cyclic and focal closures of the network showed that mutual acquaintance and vehicle affiliations were significant facilitators for the network under study. We also found that homophily with respect to age, race, and gender were not good predictors of future link formation in these networks. Moreover, we examined the social causes and policy implications for the significance and insignificance of various facilitators including common jails on future co-offending.These findings provide important insights into the link-formation processes and the resilience of social networks. In addition, they can be used to aid in the prediction of future links. The methods described can also help in understanding the driving forces behind the formation and evolution of social networks facilitated by mobile and Web technologies.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)655-665
Number of pages11
JournalJournal of the American Society for Information Science and Technology
Issue number4
StatePublished - Apr 2009

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Software
  • Information Systems
  • Human-Computer Interaction
  • Computer Networks and Communications
  • Artificial Intelligence


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