Privacy-Aware Federated Learning for Page Recommendation

Shuai Zhao, Roshani Bharati, Cristian Borcea, Yi Chen

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contribution

16 Scopus citations


Traditional page recommendation models are endangered by stricter privacy regulations, such as the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR). The performance of these models suffer when only a part of the users share their personal data, such as cookies, with web servers, while the rest of the users choose to opt-out from sharing these data. Furthermore, these models are not designed to provide recommendations for users who do not share their data. This paper addresses the question of how to provide good page recommendations to all users, independent of their privacy attitudes. We propose Fed4Rec, a privacy-preserving framework for page recommendation based on federated learning (FL) and model-agnostic meta-learning (MAML), which allows machine learning models to train on data collected from both public users, who share data with the server, and private users, who do not share data with the server. Fed4Rec enables recommendations for both public users, computed at the server, and private users, computed at their local devices. Private users' data are stored only on user devices and never shared with the server. FL is used to train on local data, and Fed4Rec shares with the server only partial model parameters, computed on local devices. MAML is used to jointly train on the public data and the model parameters from the private users. We compare Fed4Rec against several baseline frameworks, using a publicly available dataset from a large news portal. The results show that Fed4Rec outperforms the baselines in terms of recommendation accuracy. We also conduct one ablation study to examine the impact of varying the ratio between the number of public and private users. Fed4Rec performs better than the baselines for all ratios, but it is especially beneficial w hen t he p ercentage of public users is low.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationProceedings - 2020 IEEE International Conference on Big Data, Big Data 2020
EditorsXintao Wu, Chris Jermaine, Li Xiong, Xiaohua Tony Hu, Olivera Kotevska, Siyuan Lu, Weijia Xu, Srinivas Aluru, Chengxiang Zhai, Eyhab Al-Masri, Zhiyuan Chen, Jeff Saltz
PublisherInstitute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers Inc.
Number of pages10
ISBN (Electronic)9781728162515
StatePublished - Dec 10 2020
Event8th IEEE International Conference on Big Data, Big Data 2020 - Virtual, Atlanta, United States
Duration: Dec 10 2020Dec 13 2020

Publication series

NameProceedings - 2020 IEEE International Conference on Big Data, Big Data 2020


Conference8th IEEE International Conference on Big Data, Big Data 2020
Country/TerritoryUnited States
CityVirtual, Atlanta

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Computer Networks and Communications
  • Information Systems
  • Information Systems and Management
  • Safety, Risk, Reliability and Quality


  • deep learning
  • federated learning
  • metalearning
  • page recommendation
  • privacy regulation


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