Characterizing the Activity of Friendship Triads on Facebook

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Contemporary approaches to analyze user behavior on online social networks consider interactions among pairs of directly connected users or dyads. A large body of sociological work, however, suggests that mutual connections can influence the activity between two users, leading to differences between three-way and two-way interactions. This paper explores the dynamics of three-way relationships on Facebook. Categorizing each connection as a close friend or an acquaintance, contingent on the number of wall posts, this study examines how the different types of connections forming triads influence their characteristics embodied in posting activity, inter-post, reciprocation, and formation times, and activity decay. The analysis indicates that the number of constituent friendships primarily influences the characteristics of triads.