Firoj Alam


2023

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Proceedings of the First Workshop on Bangla Language Processing (BLP-2023)
Firoj Alam | Sudipta Kar | Shammur Absar Chowdhury | Farig Sadeque | Ruhul Amin
Proceedings of the First Workshop on Bangla Language Processing (BLP-2023)

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Pseudo-Labeling for Domain-Agnostic Bangla Automatic Speech Recognition
Rabindra Nath Nandi | Mehadi Menon | Tareq Muntasir | Sagor Sarker | Quazi Sarwar Muhtaseem | Md. Tariqul Islam | Shammur Chowdhury | Firoj Alam
Proceedings of the First Workshop on Bangla Language Processing (BLP-2023)

One of the major challenges for developing automatic speech recognition (ASR) for low-resource languages is the limited access to labeled data with domain-specific variations. In this study, we propose a pseudo-labeling approach to develop a large-scale domain-agnostic ASR dataset. With the proposed methodology, we developed a 20k+ hours labeled Bangla speech dataset covering diverse topics, speaking styles, dialects, noisy environments, and conversational scenarios. We then exploited the developed corpus to design a conformer-based ASR system. We benchmarked the trained ASR with publicly available datasets and compared it with other available models. To investigate the efficacy, we designed and developed a human-annotated domain-agnostic test set composed of news, telephony, and conversational data among others. Our results demonstrate the efficacy of the model trained on psuedo-label data for the designed test-set along with publicly-available Bangla datasets. The experimental resources will be publicly available.https://github.com/hishab-nlp/Pseudo-Labeling-for-Domain-Agnostic-Bangla-ASR

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BLP-2023 Task 2: Sentiment Analysis
Md. Arid Hasan | Firoj Alam | Anika Anjum | Shudipta Das | Afiyat Anjum
Proceedings of the First Workshop on Bangla Language Processing (BLP-2023)

We present an overview of the BLP Sentiment Shared Task, organized as part of the inaugural BLP 2023 workshop, co-located with EMNLP 2023. The task is defined as the detection of sentiment in a given piece of social media text. This task attracted interest from 71 participants, among whom 29 and 30 teams submitted systems during the development and evaluation phases, respectively. In total, participants submitted 597 runs. However, only 15 teams submitted system description papers. The range of approaches in the submitted systems spans from classical machine learning models, fine-tuning pre-trained models, to leveraging Large Language Model (LLMs) in zero- and few-shot settings. In this paper, we provide a detailed account of the task setup, including dataset development and evaluation setup. Additionally, we provide a succinct overview of the systems submitted by the participants. All datasets and evaluation scripts from the shared task have been made publicly available for the research community, to foster further research in this domain.

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QCRI at SemEval-2023 Task 3: News Genre, Framing and Persuasion Techniques Detection Using Multilingual Models
Maram Hasanain | Ahmed El-Shangiti | Rabindra Nath Nandi | Preslav Nakov | Firoj Alam
Proceedings of the 17th International Workshop on Semantic Evaluation (SemEval-2023)

Misinformation spreading in mainstream and social media has been misleading users in different ways. Manual detection and verification efforts by journalists and fact-checkers can no longer cope with the great scale and quick spread of misleading information. This motivated research and industry efforts to develop systems for analyzing and verifying news spreading online. The SemEval-2023 Task 3 is an attempt to address several subtasks under this overarching problem, targeting writing techniques used in news articles to affect readers’ opinions. The task addressed three subtasks with six languages, in addition to three “surprise” test languages, resulting in 27 different test setups. This paper describes our participating system to this task. Our team is one of the 6 teams that successfully submitted runs for all setups. The official results show that our system is ranked among the top 3 systems for 10 out of the 27 setups.

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ArAIEval Shared Task: Persuasion Techniques and Disinformation Detection in Arabic Text
Maram Hasanain | Firoj Alam | Hamdy Mubarak | Samir Abdaljalil | Wajdi Zaghouani | Preslav Nakov | Giovanni Da San Martino | Abed Freihat
Proceedings of ArabicNLP 2023

We present an overview of the ArAIEval shared task, organized as part of the first ArabicNLP 2023 conference co-located with EMNLP 2023. ArAIEval offers two tasks over Arabic text: (1) persuasion technique detection, focusing on identifying persuasion techniques in tweets and news articles, and (2) disinformation detection in binary and multiclass setups over tweets. A total of 20 teams participated in the final evaluation phase, with 14 and 16 teams participating in Task 1 and Task 2, respectively. Across both tasks, we observe that fine-tuning transformer models such as AraBERT is the core of majority of participating systems. We provide a description of the task setup, including description of datasets construction and the evaluation setup. We also provide a brief overview of the participating systems. All datasets and evaluation scripts from the shared task are released to the research community. We hope this will enable further research on such important tasks within the Arabic NLP community.

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Nexus at ArAIEval Shared Task: Fine-Tuning Arabic Language Models for Propaganda and Disinformation Detection
Yunze Xiao | Firoj Alam
Proceedings of ArabicNLP 2023

The spread of disinformation and propagandistic content poses a threat to societal harmony, undermining informed decision-making and trust in reliable sources. Online platforms often serve as breeding grounds for such content, and malicious actors exploit the vulnerabilities of audiences to shape public opinion. Although there have been research efforts aimed at the automatic identification of disinformation and propaganda in social media content, there remain challenges in terms of performance. The ArAIEval shared task aims to further research on these particular issues within the context of the Arabic language. In this paper, we discuss our participation in these shared tasks. We competed in subtasks 1A and 2A, where our submitted system secured positions 9th and 10th, respectively. Our experiments consist of fine-tuning transformer models and using zero- and few-shot learning with GPT-4.

2022

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Effect of Post-processing on Contextualized Word Representations
Hassan Sajjad | Firoj Alam | Fahim Dalvi | Nadir Durrani
Proceedings of the 29th International Conference on Computational Linguistics

Post-processing of static embedding has been shown to improve their performance on both lexical and sequence-level tasks. However, post-processing for contextualized embeddings is an under-studied problem. In this work, we question the usefulness of post-processing for contextualized embeddings obtained from different layers of pre-trained language models. More specifically, we standardize individual neuron activations using z-score, min-max normalization, and by removing top principal components using the all-but-the-top method. Additionally, we apply unit length normalization to word representations. On a diverse set of pre-trained models, we show that post-processing unwraps vital information present in the representations for both lexical tasks (such as word similarity and analogy) and sequence classification tasks. Our findings raise interesting points in relation to the research studies that use contextualized representations, and suggest z-score normalization as an essential step to consider when using them in an application.

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A Survey on Multimodal Disinformation Detection
Firoj Alam | Stefano Cresci | Tanmoy Chakraborty | Fabrizio Silvestri | Dimiter Dimitrov | Giovanni Da San Martino | Shaden Shaar | Hamed Firooz | Preslav Nakov
Proceedings of the 29th International Conference on Computational Linguistics

Recent years have witnessed the proliferation of offensive content online such as fake news, propaganda, misinformation, and disinformation. While initially this was mostly about textual content, over time images and videos gained popularity, as they are much easier to consume, attract more attention, and spread further than text. As a result, researchers started leveraging different modalities and combinations thereof to tackle online multimodal offensive content. In this study, we offer a survey on the state-of-the-art on multimodal disinformation detection covering various combinations of modalities: text, images, speech, video, social media network structure, and temporal information. Moreover, while some studies focused on factuality, others investigated how harmful the content is. While these two components in the definition of disinformation – (i) factuality, and (ii) harmfulness –, are equally important, they are typically studied in isolation. Thus, we argue for the need to tackle disinformation detection by taking into account multiple modalities as well as both factuality and harmfulness, in the same framework. Finally, we discuss current challenges and future research directions.

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Overview of the WANLP 2022 Shared Task on Propaganda Detection in Arabic
Firoj Alam | Hamdy Mubarak | Wajdi Zaghouani | Giovanni Da San Martino | Preslav Nakov
Proceedings of the The Seventh Arabic Natural Language Processing Workshop (WANLP)

Propaganda is defined as an expression of opinion or action by individuals or groups deliberately designed to influence opinions or actions of other individuals or groups with reference to predetermined ends and this is achieved by means of well-defined rhetorical and psychological devices. Currently, propaganda (or persuasion) techniques have been commonly used on social media to manipulate or mislead social media users. Automatic detection of propaganda techniques from textual, visual, or multimodal content has been studied recently, however, major of such efforts are focused on English language content. In this paper, we propose a shared task on detecting propaganda techniques for Arabic textual content. We have done a pilot annotation of 200 Arabic tweets, which we plan to extend to 2,000 tweets, covering diverse topics. We hope that the shared task will help in building a community for Arabic propaganda detection. The dataset will be made publicly available, which can help in future studies.

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ArabGend: Gender Analysis and Inference on Arabic Twitter
Hamdy Mubarak | Shammur Absar Chowdhury | Firoj Alam
Proceedings of the Eighth Workshop on Noisy User-generated Text (W-NUT 2022)

Gender analysis of Twitter can reveal important socio-cultural differences between male and female users. There has been a significant effort to analyze and automatically infer gender in the past for most widely spoken languages’ content, however, to our knowledge very limited work has been done for Arabic. In this paper, we perform an extensive analysis of differences between male and female users on the Arabic Twitter-sphere. We study differences in user engagement, topics of interest, and the gender gap in professions. Along with gender analysis, we also propose a method to infer gender by utilizing usernames, profile pictures, tweets, and networks of friends. In order to do so, we manually annotated gender and locations for ~166K Twitter accounts associated with ~92K user location, which we plan to make publicly available. Our proposed gender inference method achieve an F1 score of 82.1% (47.3% higher than majority baseline). We also developed a demo and made it publicly available.

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On the Transformation of Latent Space in Fine-Tuned NLP Models
Nadir Durrani | Hassan Sajjad | Fahim Dalvi | Firoj Alam
Proceedings of the 2022 Conference on Empirical Methods in Natural Language Processing

We study the evolution of latent space in fine-tuned NLP models. Different from the commonly used probing-framework, we opt for an unsupervised method to analyze representations. More specifically, we discover latent concepts in the representational space using hierarchical clustering. We then use an alignment function to gauge the similarity between the latent space of a pre-trained model and its fine-tuned version. We use traditional linguistic concepts to facilitate our understanding and also study how the model space transforms towards task-specific information. We perform a thorough analysis, comparing pre-trained and fine-tuned models across three models and three downstream tasks. The notable findings of our work are: i) the latent space of the higher layers evolve towards task-specific concepts, ii) whereas the lower layers retain generic concepts acquired in the pre-trained model, iii) we discovered that some concepts in the higher layers acquire polarity towards the output class, and iv) that these concepts can be used for generating adversarial triggers.

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The Role of Context in Detecting Previously Fact-Checked Claims
Shaden Shaar | Firoj Alam | Giovanni Da San Martino | Preslav Nakov
Findings of the Association for Computational Linguistics: NAACL 2022

Recent years have seen the proliferation of disinformation and fake news online. Traditional approaches to mitigate these issues is to use manual or automatic fact-checking. Recently, another approach has emerged: checking whether the input claim has previously been fact-checked, which can be done automatically, and thus fast, while also offering credibility and explainability, thanks to the human fact-checking and explanations in the associated fact-checking article. Here, we focus on claims made in a political debate and we study the impact of modeling the context of the claim: both on the source side, i.e., in the debate, as well as on the target side, i.e., in the fact-checking explanation document. We do this by modeling the local context, the global context, as well as by means of co-reference resolution, and multi-hop reasoning over the sentences of the document describing the fact-checked claim. The experimental results show that each of these represents a valuable information source, but that modeling the source-side context is most important, and can yield 10+ points of absolute improvement over a state-of-the-art model.

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Assisting the Human Fact-Checkers: Detecting All Previously Fact-Checked Claims in a Document
Shaden Shaar | Nikola Georgiev | Firoj Alam | Giovanni Da San Martino | Aisha Mohamed | Preslav Nakov
Findings of the Association for Computational Linguistics: EMNLP 2022

Given the recent proliferation of false claims online, there has been a lot of manual fact-checking effort. As this is very time-consuming, human fact-checkers can benefit from tools that can support them and make them more efficient. Here, we focus on building a system that could provide such support. Given an input document, it aims to detect all sentences that contain a claim that can be verified by some previously fact-checked claims (from a given database). The output is a re-ranked list of the document sentences, so that those that can be verified are ranked as high as possible, together with corresponding evidence. Unlike previous work, which has looked into claim retrieval, here we take a document-level perspective. We create a new manually annotated dataset for the task, and we propose suitable evaluation measures. We further experiment with a learning-to-rank approach, achieving sizable performance gains over several strong baselines. Our analysis demonstrates the importance of modeling text similarity and stance, while also taking into account the veracity of the retrieved previously fact-checked claims. We believe that this research would be of interest to fact-checkers, journalists, media, and regulatory authorities.

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ArCovidVac: Analyzing Arabic Tweets About COVID-19 Vaccination
Hamdy Mubarak | Sabit Hassan | Shammur Absar Chowdhury | Firoj Alam
Proceedings of the Thirteenth Language Resources and Evaluation Conference

The emergence of the COVID-19 pandemic and the first global infodemic have changed our lives in many different ways. We relied on social media to get the latest information about COVID-19 pandemic and at the same time to disseminate information. The content in social media consisted not only health related advice, plans, and informative news from policymakers, but also contains conspiracies and rumors. It became important to identify such information as soon as they are posted to make an actionable decision (e.g., debunking rumors, or taking certain measures for traveling). To address this challenge, we develop and publicly release the first largest manually annotated Arabic tweet dataset, ArCovidVac, for COVID-19 vaccination campaign, covering many countries in the Arab region. The dataset is enriched with different layers of annotation, including, (i) Informativeness more vs. less importance of the tweets); (ii) fine-grained tweet content types (e.g., advice, rumors, restriction, authenticate news/information); and (iii) stance towards vaccination (pro-vaccination, neutral, anti-vaccination). Further, we performed in-depth analysis of the data, exploring the popularity of different vaccines, trending hashtags, topics, and presence of offensiveness in the tweets. We studied the data for individual types of tweets and temporal changes in stance towards vaccine. We benchmarked the ArCovidVac dataset using transformer architectures for informativeness, content types, and stance detection.

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TeamX@DravidianLangTech-ACL2022: A Comparative Analysis for Troll-Based Meme Classification
Rabindra Nath Nandi | Firoj Alam | Preslav Nakov
Proceedings of the Second Workshop on Speech and Language Technologies for Dravidian Languages

The spread of fake news, propaganda, misinformation, disinformation, and harmful content online raised concerns among social mediaplatforms, government agencies, policymakers, and society as a whole. This is because such harmful or abusive content leads to several consequences to people such as physical, emotional, relational, and financial. Among different harmful content trolling-based online content is one of them, where the idea is to post a message that is provocative, offensive, or menacing with an intent to mislead the audience. The content can be textual, visual, a combination of both, or a meme. In this study, we provide a comparative analysis of troll-based memes classification using the textual, visual, and multimodal content. We report several interesting findings in terms of code-mixed text, multimodal setting, and combining an additional dataset, which shows improvements over the majority baseline.

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Detecting the Role of an Entity in Harmful Memes: Techniques and their Limitations
Rabindra Nath Nandi | Firoj Alam | Preslav Nakov
Proceedings of the Workshop on Combating Online Hostile Posts in Regional Languages during Emergency Situations

Harmful or abusive online content has been increasing over time and it has been raising concerns among social media platforms, government agencies, and policymakers. Such harmful or abusive content has a significant negative impact on society such as cyberbullying led to suicides, COVID-19 related rumors led to hundreds of deaths. The content that is posted and shared online can be textual, visual, a combination of both, or a meme. In this paper, we provide our study on detecting the roles of entities in harmful memes, which is part of the CONSTRAINT-2022 shared task. We report the results on the participated system. We further provide a comparative analysis on different experimental settings (i.e., unimodal, multimodal, attention, and augmentation).

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Analyzing Encoded Concepts in Transformer Language Models
Hassan Sajjad | Nadir Durrani | Fahim Dalvi | Firoj Alam | Abdul Khan | Jia Xu
Proceedings of the 2022 Conference of the North American Chapter of the Association for Computational Linguistics: Human Language Technologies

We propose a novel framework ConceptX, to analyze how latent concepts are encoded in representations learned within pre-trained lan-guage models. It uses clustering to discover the encoded concepts and explains them by aligning with a large set of human-defined concepts. Our analysis on seven transformer language models reveal interesting insights: i) the latent space within the learned representations overlap with different linguistic concepts to a varying degree, ii) the lower layers in the model are dominated by lexical concepts (e.g., affixation) and linguistic ontologies (e.g. Word-Net), whereas the core-linguistic concepts (e.g., morphology, syntactic relations) are better represented in the middle and higher layers, iii) some encoded concepts are multi-faceted and cannot be adequately explained using the existing human-defined concepts.

2021

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Detecting Propaganda Techniques in Memes
Dimitar Dimitrov | Bishr Bin Ali | Shaden Shaar | Firoj Alam | Fabrizio Silvestri | Hamed Firooz | Preslav Nakov | Giovanni Da San Martino
Proceedings of the 59th Annual Meeting of the Association for Computational Linguistics and the 11th International Joint Conference on Natural Language Processing (Volume 1: Long Papers)

Propaganda can be defined as a form of communication that aims to influence the opinions or the actions of people towards a specific goal; this is achieved by means of well-defined rhetorical and psychological devices. Propaganda, in the form we know it today, can be dated back to the beginning of the 17th century. However, it is with the advent of the Internet and the social media that propaganda has started to spread on a much larger scale than before, thus becoming major societal and political issue. Nowadays, a large fraction of propaganda in social media is multimodal, mixing textual with visual content. With this in mind, here we propose a new multi-label multimodal task: detecting the type of propaganda techniques used in memes. We further create and release a new corpus of 950 memes, carefully annotated with 22 propaganda techniques, which can appear in the text, in the image, or in both. Our analysis of the corpus shows that understanding both modalities together is essential for detecting these techniques. This is further confirmed in our experiments with several state-of-the-art multimodal models.

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Findings of the NLP4IF-2021 Shared Tasks on Fighting the COVID-19 Infodemic and Censorship Detection
Shaden Shaar | Firoj Alam | Giovanni Da San Martino | Alex Nikolov | Wajdi Zaghouani | Preslav Nakov | Anna Feldman
Proceedings of the Fourth Workshop on NLP for Internet Freedom: Censorship, Disinformation, and Propaganda

We present the results and the main findings of the NLP4IF-2021 shared tasks. Task 1 focused on fighting the COVID-19 infodemic in social media, and it was offered in Arabic, Bulgarian, and English. Given a tweet, it asked to predict whether that tweet contains a verifiable claim, and if so, whether it is likely to be false, is of general interest, is likely to be harmful, and is worthy of manual fact-checking; also, whether it is harmful to society, and whether it requires the attention of policy makers. Task 2 focused on censorship detection, and was offered in Chinese. A total of ten teams submitted systems for task 1, and one team participated in task 2; nine teams also submitted a system description paper. Here, we present the tasks, analyze the results, and discuss the system submissions and the methods they used. Most submissions achieved sizable improvements over several baselines, and the best systems used pre-trained Transformers and ensembles. The data, the scorers and the leaderboards for the tasks are available at http://gitlab.com/NLP4IF/nlp4if-2021.

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Fighting the COVID-19 Infodemic: Modeling the Perspective of Journalists, Fact-Checkers, Social Media Platforms, Policy Makers, and the Society
Firoj Alam | Shaden Shaar | Fahim Dalvi | Hassan Sajjad | Alex Nikolov | Hamdy Mubarak | Giovanni Da San Martino | Ahmed Abdelali | Nadir Durrani | Kareem Darwish | Abdulaziz Al-Homaid | Wajdi Zaghouani | Tommaso Caselli | Gijs Danoe | Friso Stolk | Britt Bruntink | Preslav Nakov
Findings of the Association for Computational Linguistics: EMNLP 2021

With the emergence of the COVID-19 pandemic, the political and the medical aspects of disinformation merged as the problem got elevated to a whole new level to become the first global infodemic. Fighting this infodemic has been declared one of the most important focus areas of the World Health Organization, with dangers ranging from promoting fake cures, rumors, and conspiracy theories to spreading xenophobia and panic. Addressing the issue requires solving a number of challenging problems such as identifying messages containing claims, determining their check-worthiness and factuality, and their potential to do harm as well as the nature of that harm, to mention just a few. To address this gap, we release a large dataset of 16K manually annotated tweets for fine-grained disinformation analysis that (i) focuses on COVID-19, (ii) combines the perspectives and the interests of journalists, fact-checkers, social media platforms, policy makers, and society, and (iii) covers Arabic, Bulgarian, Dutch, and English. Finally, we show strong evaluation results using pretrained Transformers, thus confirming the practical utility of the dataset in monolingual vs. multilingual, and single task vs. multitask settings.

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COVID-19 in Bulgarian Social Media: Factuality, Harmfulness, Propaganda, and Framing
Preslav Nakov | Firoj Alam | Shaden Shaar | Giovanni Da San Martino | Yifan Zhang
Proceedings of the International Conference on Recent Advances in Natural Language Processing (RANLP 2021)

With the emergence of the COVID-19 pandemic, the political and the medical aspects of disinformation merged as the problem got elevated to a whole new level to become the first global infodemic. Fighting this infodemic is currently ranked very high on the list of priorities of the World Health Organization, with dangers ranging from promoting fake cures, rumors, and conspiracy theories to spreading xenophobia and panic. With this in mind, we studied how COVID-19 is discussed in Bulgarian social media in terms of factuality, harmfulness, propaganda, and framing. We found that most Bulgarian tweets contain verifiable factual claims, are factually true, are of potential public interest, are not harmful, and are too trivial to fact-check; moreover, zooming into harmful tweets, we found that they spread not only rumors but also panic. We further analyzed articles shared in Bulgarian partisan pro/con-COVID-19 Facebook groups and found that propaganda is more prevalent in skeptical articles, which use doubt, flag waving, and slogans to convey their message; in contrast, concerned ones appeal to emotions, fear, and authority; moreover, skeptical articles frame the issue as one of quality of life, policy, legality, economy, and politics, while concerned articles focus on health & safety. We release our manually and automatically analyzed datasets to enable further research.

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A Second Pandemic? Analysis of Fake News about COVID-19 Vaccines in Qatar
Preslav Nakov | Firoj Alam | Shaden Shaar | Giovanni Da San Martino | Yifan Zhang
Proceedings of the International Conference on Recent Advances in Natural Language Processing (RANLP 2021)

While COVID-19 vaccines are finally becoming widely available, a second pandemic that revolves around the circulation of anti-vaxxer “fake news” may hinder efforts to recover from the first one. With this in mind, we performed an extensive analysis of Arabic and English tweets about COVID-19 vaccines, with focus on messages originating from Qatar. We found that Arabic tweets contain a lot of false information and rumors, while English tweets are mostly factual. However, English tweets are much more propagandistic than Arabic ones. In terms of propaganda techniques, about half of the Arabic tweets express doubt, and 1/5 use loaded language, while English tweets are abundant in loaded language, exaggeration, fear, name-calling, doubt, and flag-waving. Finally, in terms of framing, Arabic tweets adopt a health and safety perspective, while in English economic concerns dominate.

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SemEval-2021 Task 6: Detection of Persuasion Techniques in Texts and Images
Dimitar Dimitrov | Bishr Bin Ali | Shaden Shaar | Firoj Alam | Fabrizio Silvestri | Hamed Firooz | Preslav Nakov | Giovanni Da San Martino
Proceedings of the 15th International Workshop on Semantic Evaluation (SemEval-2021)

We describe SemEval-2021 task 6 on Detection of Persuasion Techniques in Texts and Images: the data, the annotation guidelines, the evaluation setup, the results, and the participating systems. The task focused on memes and had three subtasks: (i) detecting the techniques in the text, (ii) detecting the text spans where the techniques are used, and (iii) detecting techniques in the entire meme, i.e., both in the text and in the image. It was a popular task, attracting 71 registrations, and 22 teams that eventually made an official submission on the test set. The evaluation results for the third subtask confirmed the importance of both modalities, the text and the image. Moreover, some teams reported benefits when not just combining the two modalities, e.g., by using early or late fusion, but rather modeling the interaction between them in a joint model.

2020

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Punctuation Restoration using Transformer Models for High-and Low-Resource Languages
Tanvirul Alam | Akib Khan | Firoj Alam
Proceedings of the Sixth Workshop on Noisy User-generated Text (W-NUT 2020)

Punctuation restoration is a common post-processing problem for Automatic Speech Recognition (ASR) systems. It is important to improve the readability of the transcribed text for the human reader and facilitate NLP tasks. Current state-of-art address this problem using different deep learning models. Recently, transformer models have proven their success in downstream NLP tasks, and these models have been explored very little for the punctuation restoration problem. In this work, we explore different transformer based models and propose an augmentation strategy for this task, focusing on high-resource (English) and low-resource (Bangla) languages. For English, we obtain comparable state-of-the-art results, while for Bangla, it is the first reported work, which can serve as a strong baseline for future work. We have made our developed Bangla dataset publicly available for the research community.

2018

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Domain Adaptation with Adversarial Training and Graph Embeddings
Firoj Alam | Shafiq Joty | Muhammad Imran
Proceedings of the 56th Annual Meeting of the Association for Computational Linguistics (Volume 1: Long Papers)

The success of deep neural networks (DNNs) is heavily dependent on the availability of labeled data. However, obtaining labeled data is a big challenge in many real-world problems. In such scenarios, a DNN model can leverage labeled and unlabeled data from a related domain, but it has to deal with the shift in data distributions between the source and the target domains. In this paper, we study the problem of classifying social media posts during a crisis event (e.g., Earthquake). For that, we use labeled and unlabeled data from past similar events (e.g., Flood) and unlabeled data for the current event. We propose a novel model that performs adversarial learning based domain adaptation to deal with distribution drifts and graph based semi-supervised learning to leverage unlabeled data within a single unified deep learning framework. Our experiments with two real-world crisis datasets collected from Twitter demonstrate significant improvements over several baselines.

2016

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How Interlocutors Coordinate with each other within Emotional Segments?
Firoj Alam | Shammur Absar Chowdhury | Morena Danieli | Giuseppe Riccardi
Proceedings of COLING 2016, the 26th International Conference on Computational Linguistics: Technical Papers

In this paper, we aim to investigate the coordination of interlocutors behavior in different emotional segments. Conversational coordination between the interlocutors is the tendency of speakers to predict and adjust each other accordingly on an ongoing conversation. In order to find such a coordination, we investigated 1) lexical similarities between the speakers in each emotional segments, 2) correlation between the interlocutors using psycholinguistic features, such as linguistic styles, psychological process, personal concerns among others, and 3) relation of interlocutors turn-taking behaviors such as competitiveness. To study the degree of coordination in different emotional segments, we conducted our experiments using real dyadic conversations collected from call centers in which agent’s emotional state include empathy and customer’s emotional states include anger and frustration. Our findings suggest that the most coordination occurs between the interlocutors inside anger segments, where as, a little coordination was observed when the agent was empathic, even though an increase in the amount of non-competitive overlaps was observed. We found no significant difference between anger and frustration segment in terms of turn-taking behaviors. However, the length of pause significantly decreases in the preceding segment of anger where as it increases in the preceding segment of frustration.

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The Social Mood of News: Self-reported Annotations to Design Automatic Mood Detection Systems
Firoj Alam | Fabio Celli | Evgeny A. Stepanov | Arindam Ghosh | Giuseppe Riccardi
Proceedings of the Workshop on Computational Modeling of People’s Opinions, Personality, and Emotions in Social Media (PEOPLES)

In this paper, we address the issue of automatic prediction of readers’ mood from newspaper articles and comments. As online newspapers are becoming more and more similar to social media platforms, users can provide affective feedback, such as mood and emotion. We have exploited the self-reported annotation of mood categories obtained from the metadata of the Italian online newspaper corriere.it to design and evaluate a system for predicting five different mood categories from news articles and comments: indignation, disappointment, worry, satisfaction, and amusement. The outcome of our experiments shows that overall, bag-of-word-ngrams perform better compared to all other feature sets; however, stylometric features perform better for the mood score prediction of articles. Our study shows that self-reported annotations can be used to design automatic mood prediction systems.

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Multilevel Annotation of Agreement and Disagreement in Italian News Blogs
Fabio Celli | Giuseppe Riccardi | Firoj Alam
Proceedings of the Tenth International Conference on Language Resources and Evaluation (LREC'16)

In this paper, we present a corpus of news blog conversations in Italian annotated with gold standard agreement/disagreement relations at message and sentence levels. This is the first resource of this kind in Italian. From the analysis of ADRs at the two levels emerged that agreement annotated at message level is consistent and generally reflected at sentence level, moreover, the argumentation structure of disagreement is more complex than agreement. The manual error analysis revealed that this resource is useful not only for the analysis of argumentation, but also for the detection of irony/sarcasm in online debates. The corpus and annotation tool are available for research purposes on request.