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2023, Proceedings of the 46th International ACM SIGIR Conference on Research and Development in Information Retrieval (SIGIR '23), Pages 2426-2430

The Dark Side of Explanations: Poisoning Recommender Systems with Counterfactual Examples (04b Atto di convegno in volume)

Chen Ziheng, Silvestri Fabrizio, Wang Jia, Zhang Yongfeng, Tolomei Gabriele

Deep learning-based recommender systems have become an integral part of several online platforms. However, their black-box nature emphasizes the need for explainable artificial intelligence (XAI) approaches to provide human-understandable reasons why a specific item gets recommended to a given user. One such method is counterfactual explanation (CF). While CFs can be highly beneficial for users and system designers, malicious actors may also exploit these explanations to undermine the system's security. In this work, we propose H-CARS, a novel strategy to poison recommender systems via CFs. Specifically, we first train a logical-reasoning-based surrogate model on training data derived from counterfactual explanations. By reversing the learning process of the recommendation model, we thus develop a proficient greedy algorithm to generate fabricated user profiles and their associated interaction records for the aforementioned surrogate model. Our experiments, which employ a well-known CF generation method and are conducted on two distinct datasets, show that H-CARS yields significant and successful attack performance.
ISBN: 9781450394086
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