David Broniatowski


2020

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Content analysis of Persian/Farsi Tweets during COVID-19 pandemic in Iran using NLP
Pedram Hosseini | Poorya Hosseini | David Broniatowski
Proceedings of the 1st Workshop on NLP for COVID-19 (Part 2) at EMNLP 2020

Iran, along with China, South Korea, and Italy was among the countries that were hit hard in the first wave of the COVID-19 spread. Twitter is one of the widely-used online platforms by Iranians inside and abroad for sharing their opinion, thoughts, and feelings about a wide range of issues. In this study, using more than 530,000 original tweets in Persian/Farsi on COVID-19, we analyzed the topics discussed among users, who are mainly Iranians, to gauge and track the response to the pandemic and how it evolved over time. We applied a combination of manual annotation of a random sample of tweets and topic modeling tools to classify the contents and frequency of each category of topics. We identified the top 25 topics among which living experience under home quarantine emerged as a major talking point. We additionally categorized the broader content of tweets that shows satire, followed by news, is the dominant tweet type among Iranian users. While this framework and methodology can be used to track public response to ongoing developments related to COVID-19, a generalization of this framework can become a useful framework to gauge Iranian public reaction to ongoing policy measures or events locally and internationally.

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Detecting East Asian Prejudice on Social Media
Bertie Vidgen | Scott Hale | Ella Guest | Helen Margetts | David Broniatowski | Zeerak Waseem | Austin Botelho | Matthew Hall | Rebekah Tromble
Proceedings of the Fourth Workshop on Online Abuse and Harms

During COVID-19 concerns have heightened about the spread of aggressive and hateful language online, especially hostility directed against East Asia and East Asian people. We report on a new dataset and the creation of a machine learning classifier that categorizes social media posts from Twitter into four classes: Hostility against East Asia, Criticism of East Asia, Meta-discussions of East Asian prejudice, and a neutral class. The classifier achieves a macro-F1 score of 0.83. We then conduct an in-depth ground-up error analysis and show that the model struggles with edge cases and ambiguous content. We provide the 20,000 tweet training dataset (annotated by experienced analysts), which also contains several secondary categories and additional flags. We also provide the 40,000 original annotations (before adjudication), the full codebook, annotations for COVID-19 relevance and East Asian relevance and stance for 1,000 hashtags, and the final model.

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A Multi-Modal Method for Satire Detection using Textual and Visual Cues
Lily Li | Or Levi | Pedram Hosseini | David Broniatowski
Proceedings of the 3rd NLP4IF Workshop on NLP for Internet Freedom: Censorship, Disinformation, and Propaganda

Satire is a form of humorous critique, but it is sometimes misinterpreted by readers as legitimate news, which can lead to harmful consequences. We observe that the images used in satirical news articles often contain absurd or ridiculous content and that image manipulation is used to create fictional scenarios. While previous work have studied text-based methods, in this work we propose a multi-modal approach based on state-of-the-art visiolinguistic model ViLBERT. To this end, we create a new dataset consisting of images and headlines of regular and satirical news for the task of satire detection. We fine-tune ViLBERT on the dataset and train a convolutional neural network that uses an image forensics technique. Evaluation on the dataset shows that our proposed multi-modal approach outperforms image-only, text-only, and simple fusion baselines.

2019

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Identifying Nuances in Fake News vs. Satire: Using Semantic and Linguistic Cues
Or Levi | Pedram Hosseini | Mona Diab | David Broniatowski
Proceedings of the Second Workshop on Natural Language Processing for Internet Freedom: Censorship, Disinformation, and Propaganda

The blurry line between nefarious fake news and protected-speech satire has been a notorious struggle for social media platforms. Further to the efforts of reducing exposure to misinformation on social media, purveyors of fake news have begun to masquerade as satire sites to avoid being demoted. In this work, we address the challenge of automatically classifying fake news versus satire. Previous work have studied whether fake news and satire can be distinguished based on language differences. Contrary to fake news, satire stories are usually humorous and carry some political or social message. We hypothesize that these nuances could be identified using semantic and linguistic cues. Consequently, we train a machine learning method using semantic representation, with a state-of-the-art contextual language model, and with linguistic features based on textual coherence metrics. Empirical evaluation attests to the merits of our approach compared to the language-based baseline and sheds light on the nuances between fake news and satire. As avenues for future work, we consider studying additional linguistic features related to the humor aspect, and enriching the data with current news events, to help identify a political or social message.

2017

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How Does Twitter User Behavior Vary Across Demographic Groups?
Zach Wood-Doughty | Michael Smith | David Broniatowski | Mark Dredze
Proceedings of the Second Workshop on NLP and Computational Social Science

Demographically-tagged social media messages are a common source of data for computational social science. While these messages can indicate differences in beliefs and behaviors between demographic groups, we do not have a clear understanding of how different demographic groups use platforms such as Twitter. This paper presents a preliminary analysis of how groups’ differing behaviors may confound analyses of the groups themselves. We analyzed one million Twitter users by first inferring demographic attributes, and then measuring several indicators of Twitter behavior. We find differences in these indicators across demographic groups, suggesting that there may be underlying differences in how different demographic groups use Twitter.