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Adam Schwartz

Some of it doesn't seem odd at all. Let's say when Grace joined yelp she was living in NY but then soon moved to San Francisco. It'd make sense that her review is in NY while her (current/last self-reported) location is elsewhere. It doesn't report her historical location at the time she wrote the review. I'd also ask questions about what it means to be "friends" on yelp. Is there an acceptance process or could these other users who might rightfully be fake follow Grace without her consent (like Instagram can work for public profiles) and thus be fake without her caring. Understanding the data generating process would help us understand how much "verification" of the presented data might have occurred (eg, Grace having to accept these people as friends).

It seems more likely to me that Grace is real and wrote a real review, while the other users with large friend counts might be the fake accounts.


Yelp has the option of adding friends from Facebook. I expect that means that some people try Yelp, ad all their Facebook friends and never use Yelp again.

Adam Schwartz

Ah, see I didn't know that @Ken. Good insight! So having lots of friends on Facebook may be relatively meaningless on Yelp even if technically the large counts show up there. Though fake accounts may well exist on Yelp, perhaps the simpler explanation should dominate here. Though I like Kaiser's overall point I think he's getting at - how much work would an analyst have to do to believe they have "good" data if every user is a research project like this one? It'd be exhausting.


Does this mean you can add a Facebook friend without the friend agreeing to be a Yelp friend? If the friend doesn't have a Yelp account, does Yelp set up an account automatically?

Adam Schwartz

It's a good question. Would have to experiment with linking Yelp to my Facebook account, but I generally try to avoid linking anything to Facebook explicitly. Why make it easier on them?


AS: That's one of my tactics too. Yes, they probably can link you but why make it easier?

Adam Schwartz

Kaiser, fairly sure I learned it from you. :)

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