skip to main content

Title: On Identifying Hashtags in Disaster Twitter Data
Tweet hashtags have the potential to improve the search for information during disaster events. However, there is a large number of disaster-related tweets that do not have any user-provided hashtags. Moreover, only a small number of tweets that contain actionable hashtags are useful for disaster response. To facilitate progress on automatic identification (or extraction) of disaster hashtags for Twitter data, we construct a unique dataset of disaster-related tweets annotated with hashtags useful for filtering actionable information. Using this dataset, we further investigate Long Short-Term Memory-based models within a Multi-Task Learning framework. The best performing model achieves an F1-score as high as $92.22%$. The dataset, code, and other resources are available on Github.1  more » « less
Award ID(s):
Author(s) / Creator(s):
; ;
Date Published:
Journal Name:
Proceedings of the AAAI Conference on Artificial Intelligence
Page Range / eLocation ID:
498 to 506
Medium: X
Sponsoring Org:
National Science Foundation
More Like this
  1. Background As a number of vaccines for COVID-19 are given emergency use authorization by local health agencies and are being administered in multiple countries, it is crucial to gain public trust in these vaccines to ensure herd immunity through vaccination. One way to gauge public sentiment regarding vaccines for the goal of increasing vaccination rates is by analyzing social media such as Twitter. Objective The goal of this research was to understand public sentiment toward COVID-19 vaccines by analyzing discussions about the vaccines on social media for a period of 60 days when the vaccines were started in the United States. Using the combination of topic detection and sentiment analysis, we identified different types of concerns regarding vaccines that were expressed by different groups of the public on social media. Methods To better understand public sentiment, we collected tweets for exactly 60 days starting from December 16, 2020 that contained hashtags or keywords related to COVID-19 vaccines. We detected and analyzed different topics of discussion of these tweets as well as their emotional content. Vaccine topics were identified by nonnegative matrix factorization, and emotional content was identified using the Valence Aware Dictionary and sEntiment Reasoner sentiment analysis library as well as by using sentence bidirectional encoder representations from transformer embeddings and comparing the embedding to different emotions using cosine similarity. Results After removing all duplicates and retweets, 7,948,886 tweets were collected during the 60-day time period. Topic modeling resulted in 50 topics; of those, we selected 12 topics with the highest volume of tweets for analysis. Administration and access to vaccines were some of the major concerns of the public. Additionally, we classified the tweets in each topic into 1 of the 5 emotions and found fear to be the leading emotion in the tweets, followed by joy. Conclusions This research focused not only on negative emotions that may have led to vaccine hesitancy but also on positive emotions toward the vaccine. By identifying both positive and negative emotions, we were able to identify the public's response to the vaccines overall and to news events related to the vaccines. These results are useful for developing plans for disseminating authoritative health information and for better communication to build understanding and trust. 
    more » « less
  2. Abstract Twitter is a frequent target for machine learning research and applications. Many problems, such as sentiment analysis, image tagging, and location prediction have been studied on Twitter data. Much of the prior work that addresses these problems within the context of Twitter focuses on a subset of the types of data available, e.g. only text, or text and image. However, a tweet can have several additional components, such as the location and the author, that can also provide useful information for machine learning tasks. In this work, we explore the problem of jointly modeling several tweet components in a common embedding space via task-agnostic representation learning, which can then be used to tackle various machine learning applications. To address this problem, we propose a deep neural network framework that combines text, image, and graph representations to learn joint embeddings for 5 tweet components: body, hashtags, images, user, and location. In our experiments, we use a large dataset of tweets to learn a joint embedding model and use it in multiple tasks to evaluate its performance vs. state-of-the-art baselines specific to each task. Our results show that our proposed generic method has similar or superior performance to specialized application-specific approaches, including accuracy of 52.43% vs. 48.88% for location prediction and recall of up to 15.93% vs. 12.12% for hashtag recommendation. 
    more » « less
  3. With the spreading of hate speech on social media in recent years, automatic detection of hate speech is becoming a crucial task and has attracted attention from various communities. This task aims to recognize online posts (e.g., tweets) that contain hateful information. The peculiarities of languages in social media, such as short and poorly written content, lead to the difficulty of learning semantics and capturing discriminative features of hate speech. Previous studies have utilized additional useful resources, such as sentiment hashtags, to improve the performance of hate speech detection. Hashtags are added as input features serving either as sentiment-lexicons or extra context information. However, our close investigation shows that directly leveraging these features without considering their context may introduce noise to classifiers. In this paper, we propose a novel approach to leverage sentiment hashtags to enhance hate speech detection in a natural language inference framework. We design a novel framework SRIC that simultaneously performs two tasks: (1) semantic relation inference between online posts and sentiment hashtags, and (2) sentiment classification on these posts. The semantic relation inference aims to encourage the model to encode sentiment-indicative information into representations of online posts. We conduct extensive experiments on two real-world datasets and demonstrate the effectiveness of our proposed framework compared with state-of-the-art representation learning models. 
    more » « less
  4. The objective of this paper is to propose and test a system analytics framework based on social sensing and text mining to detect topic evolution associated with the performance of infrastructure systems in disasters. Social media, like Twitter, as active channels of communication and information dissemination, provide insights into real-time information and first-hand experience from affected areas in mass emergencies. While the existing studies show the importance of social sensing in improving situational awareness and emergency response in disasters, the use of social sensing for detection and analysis of infrastructure systems and their resilience performance has been rather limited. This limitation is due to the lack of frameworks to model the events and topics (e.g., grid interruption and road closure) evolution associated with infrastructure systems (e.g., power, highway, airport, and oil) in times of disasters. The proposed framework detects infrastructure-related topics of the tweets posted in disasters and their evolutions by integrating searching relevant keywords, text lemmatization, Part-of-Speech (POS) tagging, TF-IDF vectorization, topic modeling by using Latent Dirichlet Allocation (LDA), and K-Means clustering. The application of the proposed framework was demonstrated in a study of infrastructure systems in Houston during Hurricane Harvey. In this case study, more than sixty thousand tweets were retrieved from 150-mile radius in Houston over 39 days. The analysis of topic detection and evolution from user-generated data were conducted, and the clusters of tweets pertaining to certain topics were mapped in networks over time. The results show that the proposed framework enables to summarize topics and track the movement of situations in different disaster phases. The analytics elements of the proposed framework can improve the recognition of infrastructure performance through text-based representation and provide evidence for decision-makers to take actionable measurements. 
    more » « less
  5. Community engagement efforts have become an important avenue for raising public interest and know-how related to engineering. These efforts draw the young and the diverse into seeing engineering as a worthwhile profession. One such effort at the national level in the U.S. is the “National Engineers Week”. This is a week-long celebration held every February that consists of numerous events and activities organized for the general public with a focus towards students, women, and under-represented groups. In this paper, we examined this effort through the lens of social media and analyzed Twitter data collected for two hashtags used during the National Engineers Week 2017: “#eweek2017” and “#engineersweek”. Our dataset consisted of 6,583 original tweets and 10,885 retweets. To study the impact of the outreach we used three analytical approaches: descriptive analysis, content analysis, and network analysis. We found that the Twitter campaign participation was dominated by engineering companies and individual users followed by a limited participation of educational institutions, professional engineering associations, and non-profits. As opposed to other popular hashtag campaigns, not a single news media organization was identified as a participating user signaling a lower new media-driven propagation of the campaign among the public. From a content perspective, the tweets can be categorized as event promotion, showcasing employees of engineering companies, or encouraging and inspiring public (especially women and children) towards engineering. With the growing popularity of social media, community engagement efforts need to strategically leverage hashtags and other media elements for a broader impact. 
    more » « less