With the rise of social networks, information on the internet is no longer solely organized by web pages. Rather, content is generated and shared among users and organized around their social relations on social networks. This presents new challenges to information retrieval systems. On a social network search system, the generation of result sets not only needs to consider keyword matches, like a traditional web search engine does, but it also needs to take into account the searcher’s social connections and the content’s visibility settings. Search ranking should also be able to handle both textual relevance and the rich social interaction signals from the social network.
In this paper, we present our solution to these two challenges by first introducing a social retrieval mechanism, and then investigate novel deep neural networks for the ranking problem. The retrieval system treats social connections as indexing terms, and generates meaningful results sets by biasing towards close social connections in a constrained optimization fashion. The result set is then ranked by a deep neural network that handles textual and social relevance in a two-tower approach, in which personalization and textual relevance are addressed jointly.
The retrieval mechanism is deployed on Facebook and is helping billions of users finding postings from their connections efficiently. Based on the postings being retrieved, we evaluate our two-tower neutral network, and examine the importance of personalization and textual signals in the ranking problem.