Giovanni Da San Martino

Also published as: Giovanni Da San Martino


2024

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FRAPPE: FRAming, Persuasion, and Propaganda Explorer
Ahmed Sajwani | Alaa El Setohy | Ali Mekky | Diana Turmakhan | Lara Hassan | Mohamed El Zeftawy | Omar El Herraoui | Osama Mohammed Afzal | Qisheng Liao | Tarek Mahmoud | Zain Muhammad Mujahid | Muhammad Umar Salman | Muhammad Arslan Manzoor | Massa Baali | Jakub Piskorski | Nicolas Stefanovitch | Giovanni Da San Martino | Preslav Nakov
Proceedings of the 18th Conference of the European Chapter of the Association for Computational Linguistics: System Demonstrations

The abundance of news sources and the urgent demand for reliable information have led to serious concerns about the threat of misleading information. In this paper, we present FRAPPE, a FRAming, Persuasion, and Propaganda Explorer system. FRAPPE goes beyond conventional news analysis of articles and unveils the intricate linguistic techniques used to shape readers’ opinions and emotions. Our system allows users not only to analyze individual articles for their genre, framings, and use of persuasion techniques, but also to draw comparisons between the strategies of persuasion and framing adopted by a diverse pool of news outlets and countries across multiple languages for different topics, thus providing a comprehensive understanding of how information is presented and manipulated. FRAPPE is publicly accessible at https://frappe.streamlit.app/ and a video explaining our system is available at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3RlTfSVnZmk

2023

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Proceedings of the 17th International Workshop on Semantic Evaluation (SemEval-2023)
Atul Kr. Ojha | A. Seza Doğruöz | Giovanni Da San Martino | Harish Tayyar Madabushi | Ritesh Kumar | Elisa Sartori
Proceedings of the 17th International Workshop on Semantic Evaluation (SemEval-2023)

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SemEval-2023 Task 3: Detecting the Category, the Framing, and the Persuasion Techniques in Online News in a Multi-lingual Setup
Jakub Piskorski | Nicolas Stefanovitch | Giovanni Da San Martino | Preslav Nakov
Proceedings of the 17th International Workshop on Semantic Evaluation (SemEval-2023)

We describe SemEval-2023 task 3 on Detecting the Category, the Framing, and the Persuasion Techniques in Online News in a Multilingual Setup: the dataset, the task organization process, the evaluation setup, the results, and the participating systems. The task focused on news articles in nine languages (six known to the participants upfront: English, French, German, Italian, Polish, and Russian), and three additional ones revealed to the participants at the testing phase: Spanish, Greek, and Georgian). The task featured three subtasks: (1) determining the genre of the article (opinion, reporting, or satire), (2) identifying one or more frames used in an article from a pool of 14 generic frames, and (3) identify the persuasion techniques used in each paragraph of the article, using a taxonomy of 23 persuasion techniques. This was a very popular task: a total of 181 teams registered to participate, and 41 eventually made an official submission on the test set.

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Multilingual Multifaceted Understanding of Online News in Terms of Genre, Framing, and Persuasion Techniques
Jakub Piskorski | Nicolas Stefanovitch | Nikolaos Nikolaidis | Giovanni Da San Martino | Preslav Nakov
Proceedings of the 61st Annual Meeting of the Association for Computational Linguistics (Volume 1: Long Papers)

We present a new multilingual multifacet dataset of news articles, each annotated for genre (objective news reporting vs. opinion vs. satire), framing (what key aspects are highlighted), and persuasion techniques (logical fallacies, emotional appeals, ad hominem attacks, etc.). The persuasion techniques are annotated at the span level, using a taxonomy of 23 fine-grained techniques grouped into 6 coarse categories. The dataset contains 1,612 news articles covering recent news on current topics of public interest in six European languages (English, French, German, Italian, Polish, and Russian), with more than 37k annotated spans of persuasion techniques. We describe the dataset and the annotation process, and we report the evaluation results of multilabel classification experiments using state-of-the-art multilingual transformers at different levels of granularity: token-level, sentence-level, paragraph-level, and document-level.

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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.

2022

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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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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 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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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.

2021

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Proceedings of the Fourth Workshop on NLP for Internet Freedom: Censorship, Disinformation, and Propaganda
Anna Feldman | Giovanni Da San Martino | Chris Leberknight | Preslav Nakov
Proceedings of the Fourth Workshop on NLP for Internet Freedom: Censorship, Disinformation, and Propaganda

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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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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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Interpretable Propaganda Detection in News Articles
Seunghak Yu | Giovanni Da San Martino | Mitra Mohtarami | James Glass | Preslav Nakov
Proceedings of the International Conference on Recent Advances in Natural Language Processing (RANLP 2021)

Online users today are exposed to misleading and propagandistic news articles and media posts on a daily basis. To counter thus, a number of approaches have been designed aiming to achieve a healthier and safer online news and media consumption. Automatic systems are able to support humans in detecting such content; yet, a major impediment to their broad adoption is that besides being accurate, the decisions of such systems need also to be interpretable in order to be trusted and widely adopted by users. Since misleading and propagandistic content influences readers through the use of a number of deception techniques, we propose to detect and to show the use of such techniques as a way to offer interpretability. In particular, we define qualitatively descriptive features and we analyze their suitability for detecting deception techniques. We further show that our interpretable features can be easily combined with pre-trained language models, yielding state-of-the-art results.

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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.

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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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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.

2020

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Proceedings of the 3rd NLP4IF Workshop on NLP for Internet Freedom: Censorship, Disinformation, and Propaganda
Giovanni Da San Martino | Chris Brew | Giovanni Luca Ciampaglia | Anna Feldman | Chris Leberknight | Preslav Nakov
Proceedings of the 3rd NLP4IF Workshop on NLP for Internet Freedom: Censorship, Disinformation, and Propaganda

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SemEval-2020 Task 11: Detection of Propaganda Techniques in News Articles
Giovanni Da San Martino | Alberto Barrón-Cedeño | Henning Wachsmuth | Rostislav Petrov | Preslav Nakov
Proceedings of the Fourteenth Workshop on Semantic Evaluation

We present the results and the main findings of SemEval-2020 Task 11 on Detection of Propaganda Techniques in News Articles. The task featured two subtasks. Subtask SI is about Span Identification: given a plain-text document, spot the specific text fragments containing propaganda. Subtask TC is about Technique Classification: given a specific text fragment, in the context of a full document, determine the propaganda technique it uses, choosing from an inventory of 14 possible propaganda techniques. The task attracted a large number of participants: 250 teams signed up to participate and 44 made a submission on the test set. In this paper, we present the task, analyze the results, and discuss the system submissions and the methods they used. For both subtasks, the best systems used pre-trained Transformers and ensembles.

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That is a Known Lie: Detecting Previously Fact-Checked Claims
Shaden Shaar | Nikolay Babulkov | Giovanni Da San Martino | Preslav Nakov
Proceedings of the 58th Annual Meeting of the Association for Computational Linguistics

The recent proliferation of ”fake news” has triggered a number of responses, most notably the emergence of several manual fact-checking initiatives. As a result and over time, a large number of fact-checked claims have been accumulated, which increases the likelihood that a new claim in social media or a new statement by a politician might have already been fact-checked by some trusted fact-checking organization, as viral claims often come back after a while in social media, and politicians like to repeat their favorite statements, true or false, over and over again. As manual fact-checking is very time-consuming (and fully automatic fact-checking has credibility issues), it is important to try to save this effort and to avoid wasting time on claims that have already been fact-checked. Interestingly, despite the importance of the task, it has been largely ignored by the research community so far. Here, we aim to bridge this gap. In particular, we formulate the task and we discuss how it relates to, but also differs from, previous work. We further create a specialized dataset, which we release to the research community. Finally, we present learning-to-rank experiments that demonstrate sizable improvements over state-of-the-art retrieval and textual similarity approaches.

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Prta: A System to Support the Analysis of Propaganda Techniques in the News
Giovanni Da San Martino | Shaden Shaar | Yifan Zhang | Seunghak Yu | Alberto Barrón-Cedeño | Preslav Nakov
Proceedings of the 58th Annual Meeting of the Association for Computational Linguistics: System Demonstrations

Recent events, such as the 2016 US Presidential Campaign, Brexit and the COVID-19 “infodemic”, have brought into the spotlight the dangers of online disinformation. There has been a lot of research focusing on fact-checking and disinformation detection. However, little attention has been paid to the specific rhetorical and psychological techniques used to convey propaganda messages. Revealing the use of such techniques can help promote media literacy and critical thinking, and eventually contribute to limiting the impact of “fake news” and disinformation campaigns. Prta (Propaganda Persuasion Techniques Analyzer) allows users to explore the articles crawled on a regular basis by highlighting the spans in which propaganda techniques occur and to compare them on the basis of their use of propaganda techniques. The system further reports statistics about the use of such techniques, overall and over time, or according to filtering criteria specified by the user based on time interval, keywords, and/or political orientation of the media. Moreover, it allows users to analyze any text or URL through a dedicated interface or via an API. The system is available online: https://www.tanbih.org/prta.

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We Can Detect Your Bias: Predicting the Political Ideology of News Articles
Ramy Baly | Giovanni Da San Martino | James Glass | Preslav Nakov
Proceedings of the 2020 Conference on Empirical Methods in Natural Language Processing (EMNLP)

We explore the task of predicting the leading political ideology or bias of news articles. First, we collect and release a large dataset of 34,737 articles that were manually annotated for political ideology –left, center, or right–, which is well-balanced across both topics and media. We further use a challenging experimental setup where the test examples come from media that were not seen during training, which prevents the model from learning to detect the source of the target news article instead of predicting its political ideology. From a modeling perspective, we propose an adversarial media adaptation, as well as a specially adapted triplet loss. We further add background information about the source, and we show that it is quite helpful for improving article-level prediction. Our experimental results show very sizable improvements over using state-of-the-art pre-trained Transformers in this challenging setup.

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Fact-Checking, Fake News, Propaganda, and Media Bias: Truth Seeking in the Post-Truth Era
Preslav Nakov | Giovanni Da San Martino
Proceedings of the 2020 Conference on Empirical Methods in Natural Language Processing: Tutorial Abstracts

The rise of social media has democratized content creation and has made it easy for everybody to share and spread information online. On the positive side, this has given rise to citizen journalism, thus enabling much faster dissemination of information compared to what was possible with newspapers, radio, and TV. On the negative side, stripping traditional media from their gate-keeping role has left the public unprotected against the spread of misinformation, which could now travel at breaking-news speed over the same democratic channel. This has given rise to the proliferation of false information specifically created to affect individual people’s beliefs, and ultimately to influence major events such as political elections. There are strong indications that false information was weaponized at an unprecedented scale during Brexit and the 2016 U.S. presidential elections. “Fake news,” which can be defined as fabricated information that mimics news media content in form but not in organizational process or intent, became the Word of the Year for 2017, according to Collins Dictionary. Thus, limiting the spread of “fake news” and its impact has become a major focus for computer scientists, journalists, social media companies, and regulatory authorities. The tutorial will offer an overview of the broad and emerging research area of disinformation, with focus on the latest developments and research directions.

2019

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Team Jack Ryder at SemEval-2019 Task 4: Using BERT Representations for Detecting Hyperpartisan News
Daniel Shaprin | Giovanni Da San Martino | Alberto Barrón-Cedeño | Preslav Nakov
Proceedings of the 13th International Workshop on Semantic Evaluation

We describe the system submitted by the Jack Ryder team to SemEval-2019 Task 4 on Hyperpartisan News Detection. The task asked participants to predict whether a given article is hyperpartisan, i.e., extreme-left or extreme-right. We proposed an approach based on BERT with fine-tuning, which was ranked 7th out 28 teams on the distantly supervised dataset, where all articles from a hyperpartisan/non-hyperpartisan news outlet are considered to be hyperpartisan/non-hyperpartisan. On a manually annotated test dataset, where human annotators double-checked the labels, we were ranked 29th out of 42 teams.

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Team QCRI-MIT at SemEval-2019 Task 4: Propaganda Analysis Meets Hyperpartisan News Detection
Abdelrhman Saleh | Ramy Baly | Alberto Barrón-Cedeño | Giovanni Da San Martino | Mitra Mohtarami | Preslav Nakov | James Glass
Proceedings of the 13th International Workshop on Semantic Evaluation

We describe our submission to SemEval-2019 Task 4 on Hyperpartisan News Detection. We rely on a variety of engineered features originally used to detect propaganda. This is based on the assumption that biased messages are propagandistic and promote a particular political cause or viewpoint. In particular, we trained a logistic regression model with features ranging from simple bag of words to vocabulary richness and text readability. Our system achieved 72.9% accuracy on the manually annotated testset, and 60.8% on the test data that was obtained with distant supervision. Additional experiments showed that significant performance gains can be achieved with better feature pre-processing.

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Fine-Grained Analysis of Propaganda in News Article
Giovanni Da San Martino | Seunghak Yu | Alberto Barrón-Cedeño | Rostislav Petrov | Preslav Nakov
Proceedings of the 2019 Conference on Empirical Methods in Natural Language Processing and the 9th International Joint Conference on Natural Language Processing (EMNLP-IJCNLP)

Propaganda aims at influencing people’s mindset with the purpose of advancing a specific agenda. Previous work has addressed propaganda detection at document level, typically labelling all articles from a propagandistic news outlet as propaganda. Such noisy gold labels inevitably affect the quality of any learning system trained on them. A further issue with most existing systems is the lack of explainability. To overcome these limitations, we propose a novel task: performing fine-grained analysis of texts by detecting all fragments that contain propaganda techniques as well as their type. In particular, we create a corpus of news articles manually annotated at fragment level with eighteen propaganda techniques and propose a suitable evaluation measure. We further design a novel multi-granularity neural network, and we show that it outperforms several strong BERT-based baselines.

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Tanbih: Get To Know What You Are Reading
Yifan Zhang | Giovanni Da San Martino | Alberto Barrón-Cedeño | Salvatore Romeo | Jisun An | Haewoon Kwak | Todor Staykovski | Israa Jaradat | Georgi Karadzhov | Ramy Baly | Kareem Darwish | James Glass | Preslav Nakov
Proceedings of the 2019 Conference on Empirical Methods in Natural Language Processing and the 9th International Joint Conference on Natural Language Processing (EMNLP-IJCNLP): System Demonstrations

We introduce Tanbih, a news aggregator with intelligent analysis tools to help readers understanding what’s behind a news story. Our system displays news grouped into events and generates media profiles that show the general factuality of reporting, the degree of propagandistic content, hyper-partisanship, leading political ideology, general frame of reporting, and stance with respect to various claims and topics of a news outlet. In addition, we automatically analyse each article to detect whether it is propagandistic and to determine its stance with respect to a number of controversial topics.

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Proceedings of the Second Workshop on Natural Language Processing for Internet Freedom: Censorship, Disinformation, and Propaganda
Anna Feldman | Giovanni Da San Martino | Alberto Barrón-Cedeño | Chris Brew | Chris Leberknight | Preslav Nakov
Proceedings of the Second Workshop on Natural Language Processing for Internet Freedom: Censorship, Disinformation, and Propaganda

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Findings of the NLP4IF-2019 Shared Task on Fine-Grained Propaganda Detection
Giovanni Da San Martino | Alberto Barrón-Cedeño | Preslav Nakov
Proceedings of the Second Workshop on Natural Language Processing for Internet Freedom: Censorship, Disinformation, and Propaganda

We present the shared task on Fine-Grained Propaganda Detection, which was organized as part of the NLP4IF workshop at EMNLP-IJCNLP 2019. There were two subtasks. FLC is a fragment-level task that asks for the identification of propagandist text fragments in a news article and also for the prediction of the specific propaganda technique used in each such fragment (18-way classification task). SLC is a sentence-level binary classification task asking to detect the sentences that contain propaganda. A total of 12 teams submitted systems for the FLC task, 25 teams did so for the SLC task, and 14 teams eventually submitted a system description paper. For both subtasks, most systems managed to beat the baseline by a sizable margin. The leaderboard and the data from the competition are available at http://propaganda.qcri.org/nlp4if-shared-task/.

2018

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A Flexible, Efficient and Accurate Framework for Community Question Answering Pipelines
Salvatore Romeo | Giovanni Da San Martino | Alberto Barrón-Cedeño | Alessandro Moschitti
Proceedings of ACL 2018, System Demonstrations

Although deep neural networks have been proving to be excellent tools to deliver state-of-the-art results, when data is scarce and the tackled tasks involve complex semantic inference, deep linguistic processing and traditional structure-based approaches, such as tree kernel methods, are an alternative solution. Community Question Answering is a research area that benefits from deep linguistic analysis to improve the experience of the community of forum users. In this paper, we present a UIMA framework to distribute the computation of cQA tasks over computer clusters such that traditional systems can scale to large datasets and deliver fast processing.

2017

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The Impact of Modeling Overall Argumentation with Tree Kernels
Henning Wachsmuth | Giovanni Da San Martino | Dora Kiesel | Benno Stein
Proceedings of the 2017 Conference on Empirical Methods in Natural Language Processing

Several approaches have been proposed to model either the explicit sequential structure of an argumentative text or its implicit hierarchical structure. So far, the adequacy of these models of overall argumentation remains unclear. This paper asks what type of structure is actually important to tackle downstream tasks in computational argumentation. We analyze patterns in the overall argumentation of texts from three corpora. Then, we adapt the idea of positional tree kernels in order to capture sequential and hierarchical argumentative structure together for the first time. In systematic experiments for three text classification tasks, we find strong evidence for the impact of both types of structure. Our results suggest that either of them is necessary while their combination may be beneficial.

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KeLP at SemEval-2017 Task 3: Learning Pairwise Patterns in Community Question Answering
Simone Filice | Giovanni Da San Martino | Alessandro Moschitti
Proceedings of the 11th International Workshop on Semantic Evaluation (SemEval-2017)

This paper describes the KeLP system participating in the SemEval-2017 community Question Answering (cQA) task. The system is a refinement of the kernel-based sentence pair modeling we proposed for the previous year challenge. It is implemented within the Kernel-based Learning Platform called KeLP, from which we inherit the team’s name. Our primary submission ranked first in subtask A, and third in subtasks B and C, being the only systems appearing in the top-3 ranking for all the English subtasks. This shows that the proposed framework, which has minor variations among the three subtasks, is extremely flexible and effective in tackling learning tasks defined on sentence pairs.

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Building Chatbots from Forum Data: Model Selection Using Question Answering Metrics
Martin Boyanov | Preslav Nakov | Alessandro Moschitti | Giovanni Da San Martino | Ivan Koychev
Proceedings of the International Conference Recent Advances in Natural Language Processing, RANLP 2017

We propose to use question answering (QA) data from Web forums to train chat-bots from scratch, i.e., without dialog data. First, we extract pairs of question and answer sentences from the typically much longer texts of questions and answers in a forum. We then use these shorter texts to train seq2seq models in a more efficient way. We further improve the parameter optimization using a new model selection strategy based on QA measures. Finally, we propose to use extrinsic evaluation with respect to a QA task as an automatic evaluation method for chatbot systems. The evaluation shows that the model achieves a MAP of 63.5% on the extrinsic task. Moreover, our manual evaluation demonstrates that the model can answer correctly 49.5% of the questions when they are similar in style to how questions are asked in the forum, and 47.3% of the questions, when they are more conversational in style.

2016

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QCRI at SemEval-2016 Task 4: Probabilistic Methods for Binary and Ordinal Quantification
Giovanni Da San Martino | Wei Gao | Fabrizio Sebastiani
Proceedings of the 10th International Workshop on Semantic Evaluation (SemEval-2016)

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ConvKN at SemEval-2016 Task 3: Answer and Question Selection for Question Answering on Arabic and English Fora
Alberto Barrón-Cedeño | Daniele Bonadiman | Giovanni Da San Martino | Shafiq Joty | Alessandro Moschitti | Fahad Al Obaidli | Salvatore Romeo | Kateryna Tymoshenko | Antonio Uva
Proceedings of the 10th International Workshop on Semantic Evaluation (SemEval-2016)

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Neural Attention for Learning to Rank Questions in Community Question Answering
Salvatore Romeo | Giovanni Da San Martino | Alberto Barrón-Cedeño | Alessandro Moschitti | Yonatan Belinkov | Wei-Ning Hsu | Yu Zhang | Mitra Mohtarami | James Glass
Proceedings of COLING 2016, the 26th International Conference on Computational Linguistics: Technical Papers

In real-world data, e.g., from Web forums, text is often contaminated with redundant or irrelevant content, which leads to introducing noise in machine learning algorithms. In this paper, we apply Long Short-Term Memory networks with an attention mechanism, which can select important parts of text for the task of similar question retrieval from community Question Answering (cQA) forums. In particular, we use the attention weights for both selecting entire sentences and their subparts, i.e., word/chunk, from shallow syntactic trees. More interestingly, we apply tree kernels to the filtered text representations, thus exploiting the implicit features of the subtree space for learning question reranking. Our results show that the attention-based pruning allows for achieving the top position in the cQA challenge of SemEval 2016, with a relatively large gap from the other participants while greatly decreasing running time.

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Selecting Sentences versus Selecting Tree Constituents for Automatic Question Ranking
Alberto Barrón-Cedeño | Giovanni Da San Martino | Salvatore Romeo | Alessandro Moschitti
Proceedings of COLING 2016, the 26th International Conference on Computational Linguistics: Technical Papers

Community question answering (cQA) websites are focused on users who query questions onto an online forum, expecting for other users to provide them answers or suggestions. Unlike other social media, the length of the posted queries has no limits and queries tend to be multi-sentence elaborations combining context, actual questions, and irrelevant information. We approach the problem of question ranking: given a user’s new question, to retrieve those previously-posted questions which could be equivalent, or highly relevant. This could prevent the posting of nearly-duplicate questions and provide the user with instantaneous answers. For the first time in cQA, we address the selection of relevant text —both at sentence- and at constituent-level— for parse tree-based representations. Our supervised models for text selection boost the performance of a tree kernel-based machine learning model, allowing it to overtake the current state of the art on a recently released cQA evaluation framework.

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An Interactive System for Exploring Community Question Answering Forums
Enamul Hoque | Shafiq Joty | Lluís Màrquez | Alberto Barrón-Cedeño | Giovanni Da San Martino | Alessandro Moschitti | Preslav Nakov | Salvatore Romeo | Giuseppe Carenini
Proceedings of COLING 2016, the 26th International Conference on Computational Linguistics: System Demonstrations

We present an interactive system to provide effective and efficient search capabilities in Community Question Answering (cQA) forums. The system integrates state-of-the-art technology for answer search with a Web-based user interface specifically tailored to support the cQA forum readers. The answer search module automatically finds relevant answers for a new question by exploring related questions and the comments within their threads. The graphical user interface presents the search results and supports the exploration of related information. The system is running live at http://www.qatarliving.com/betasearch/.

2015

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QCRI: Answer Selection for Community Question Answering - Experiments for Arabic and English
Massimo Nicosia | Simone Filice | Alberto Barrón-Cedeño | Iman Saleh | Hamdy Mubarak | Wei Gao | Preslav Nakov | Giovanni Da San Martino | Alessandro Moschitti | Kareem Darwish | Lluís Màrquez | Shafiq Joty | Walid Magdy
Proceedings of the 9th International Workshop on Semantic Evaluation (SemEval 2015)

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Global Thread-level Inference for Comment Classification in Community Question Answering
Shafiq Joty | Alberto Barrón-Cedeño | Giovanni Da San Martino | Simone Filice | Lluís Màrquez | Alessandro Moschitti | Preslav Nakov
Proceedings of the 2015 Conference on Empirical Methods in Natural Language Processing

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Structural Representations for Learning Relations between Pairs of Texts
Simone Filice | Giovanni Da San Martino | Alessandro Moschitti
Proceedings of the 53rd Annual Meeting of the Association for Computational Linguistics and the 7th International Joint Conference on Natural Language Processing (Volume 1: Long Papers)

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Thread-Level Information for Comment Classification in Community Question Answering
Alberto Barrón-Cedeño | Simone Filice | Giovanni Da San Martino | Shafiq Joty | Lluís Màrquez | Preslav Nakov | Alessandro Moschitti
Proceedings of the 53rd Annual Meeting of the Association for Computational Linguistics and the 7th International Joint Conference on Natural Language Processing (Volume 2: Short Papers)

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