Memes can sway people’s opinions over social media as they combine visual and textual information in an easy-to-consume manner. Since memes instantly turn viral, it becomes crucial to infer their intent and potentially associated harmfulness to take timely measures as needed. A common problem associated with meme comprehension lies in detecting the entities referenced and characterizing the role of each of these entities. Here, we aim to understand whether the meme glorifies, vilifies, or victimizes each entity it refers to. To this end, we address the task of role identification of entities in harmful memes, i.e., detecting who is the ‘hero’, the ‘villain’, and the ‘victim’ in the meme, if any. We utilize HVVMemes – a memes dataset on US Politics and Covid-19 memes, released recently as part of the CONSTRAINT@ACL-2022 shared-task. It contains memes, entities referenced, and their associated roles: hero, villain, victim, and other. We further design VECTOR (Visual-semantic role dEteCToR), a robust multi-modal framework for the task, which integrates entity-based contextual information in the multi-modal representation and compare it to several standard unimodal (text-only or image-only) or multi-modal (image+text) models. Our experimental results show that our proposed model achieves an improvement of 4% over the best baseline and 1% over the best competing stand-alone submission from the shared-task. Besides divulging an extensive experimental setup with comparative analyses, we finally highlight the challenges encountered in addressing the complex task of semantic role labeling within memes.
We present the findings of the shared task at the CONSTRAINT 2022 Workshop: Hero, Villain, and Victim: Dissecting harmful memes for Semantic role labeling of entities. The task aims to delve deeper into the domain of meme comprehension by deciphering the connotations behind the entities present in a meme. In more nuanced terms, the shared task focuses on determining the victimizing, glorifying, and vilifying intentions embedded in meme entities to explicate their connotations. To this end, we curate HVVMemes, a novel meme dataset of about 7000 memes spanning the domains of COVID-19 and US Politics, each containing entities and their associated roles: hero, villain, victim, or none. The shared task attracted 105 participants, but eventually only 6 submissions were made. Most of the successful submissions relied on fine-tuning pre-trained language and multimodal models along with ensembles. The best submission achieved an F1-score of 58.67.