Mapping (Dis-)Information Flow about the MH17 Plane Crash
Mareike Hartmann | Yevgeniy Golovchenko | Isabelle Augenstein
Proceedings of the Second Workshop on Natural Language Processing for Internet Freedom: Censorship, Disinformation, and Propaganda
Digital media enables not only fast sharing of information, but also disinformation. One prominent case of an event leading to circulation of disinformation on social media is the MH17 plane crash. Studies analysing the spread of information about this event on Twitter have focused on small, manually annotated datasets, or used proxys for data annotation. In this work, we examine to what extent text classifiers can be used to label data for subsequent content analysis, in particular we focus on predicting pro-Russian and pro-Ukrainian Twitter content related to the MH17 plane crash. Even though we find that a neural classifier improves over a hashtag based baseline, labeling pro-Russian and pro-Ukrainian content with high precision remains a challenging problem. We provide an error analysis underlining the difficulty of the task and identify factors that might help improve classification in future work. Finally, we show how the classifier can facilitate the annotation task for human annotators.