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Simon Baumgartner

Simon Baumgartner

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    SMILE: Evaluation and Domain Adaptation for Social Media Language Understanding
    Vasilisa Bashlovkina
    Riley Matthews
    Charles Kwong
    Preview abstract We study the ability of transformer-based language models (LMs) to understand social media language. Social media (SM) language is distinct from standard written language, yet existing benchmarks fall short of capturing LM performance in this socially, economically, and politically important domain. We quantify the degree to which social media language differs from conventional language and conclude that the difference is significant both in terms of token distribution and rate of linguistic shift. Next, we introduce a new benchmark for Social MedIa Language Evaluation (SMILE) that covers four SM platforms and eleven tasks. Finally, we show that learning a tokenizer and pretraining on a mix of social media and conventional language yields an LM that outperforms the best similar-sized alternative by 4.2 points on the overall SMILE score. View details
    Preview abstract Market sentiment analysis on social media content requires knowledge of both financial markets and social media slang, which makes it a challenging task for human raters. The resulting lack of high-quality labeled data stands in the way of conventional supervised learning methods. Instead, we approach this problem using semi-supervised learning with a large language model (LLM). Our pipeline generates weak financial sentiment labels for Reddit posts with an LLM and then uses that data to train a small model that can be served in production. We find that prompting the LLM to produce chain-of-thought summaries and forcing it through several reasoning paths helps generate more stable and accurate labels, while using a regression loss further improves distillation quality. With only a handful of prompts, the final model performs on par with existing supervised models. Though production applications of our model are limited by ethical considerations, the model's competitive performance points to the great potential of using LLMs for tasks that otherwise require skill-intensive annotation. View details
    Preview abstract State-of-the-art models in natural language processing rely on separate rigid subword tokenization algorithms, which limit their generalization ability and adaptation to new settings. In this paper, we propose a new model inductive bias that learns a subword tokenization end-to-end as part of the model. To this end, we introduce a soft gradient-based subword tokenization module (GBST) that automatically learns latent subword representations from characters in a data-driven fashion. Concretely, GBST enumerates candidate subword blocks and learns to score them in a position-wise fashion using a block scoring network. We additionally introduce Charformer, a deep Transformer model that integrates GBST and operates on the byte level. Via extensive experiments on English GLUE, multilingual, and noisy text datasets, we show that Charformer outperforms a series of competitive byte-level baselines while generally performing on par and sometimes outperforming subword-based models. Additionally, Charformer is fast, improving the speed of both vanilla byte-level and subword-level Transformers by 28%-100% while maintaining competitive quality. We believe this work paves the way for highly performant token-free models that are trained completely end-to-end. View details
    Factoring Fact-Checks: Structured Information Extraction from Fact-Checking Articles
    Shan Jiang
    Abe Ittycheriah
    Cong Yu
    Proceedings of the 2020 Web Conference (WWW 2020)
    Preview abstract Fact-checking, which investigates claims made in public to arrive at a verdict supported by evidence and logical reasoning, has long been a significant form of journalism to combat misinformation in the news ecosystem. Most of the fact-checks share common structured information (called factors) such as claim, claimant, and verdict. In recent years, the emergence of ClaimReview as the standard schema for annotating those factors within fact-checking articles has led to wide adoption of fact-checking features by online platforms (e.g., Google, Bing). However, annotating fact-checks is a tedious process for fact-checkers and distracts them from their core job of investigating claims. As a result, less than half of the fact-checkers worldwide have adopted ClaimReview as of mid-2019. In this paper, we propose the task of factoring fact-checks for automatically extracting structured information from fact-checking articles. Exploring a public dataset of fact-checks, we empirically show that factoring fact-checks is a challenging task, especially for fact-checkers that are under-represented in the existing dataset. We then formulate the task as a sequence tagging problem and fine-tune the pre-trained BERT models with a modification made from our observations to approach the problem. Through extensive experiments, we demonstrate the performance of our models for well-known fact-checkers and promising initial results for under-represented fact-checkers. View details
    Preview abstract With the support of major search platforms such as Google and Bing, fact-checking articles, which can be identified by their adoption of the schema.org ClaimReview structured markup, have gained widespread recognition for their role in the fight against digital misinformation. A claim-relevant document is an online document that addresses, and potentially expresses a stance towards, some claim. The claim-relevance discovery problem, then, is to find claim-relevant documents. Depending on the verdict from the fact check, claim-relevance discovery can help identify online misinformation. In this paper, we provide an initial approach to the claim-relevance discovery problem by leveraging various information retrieval and machine learning techniques. The system consists of three phases. First, we retrieve candidate documents based on various features in the fact-checking article. Second, we apply a relevance classifier to filter away documents that do not address the claim. Third, we apply a language feature based classifier to distinguish documents with different stances towards the claim. We experimentally demonstrate that our solution achieves solid results on a large-scale dataset and beats state-of-the-art baselines. Finally, we highlight a rich set of case studies to demonstrate the myriad of remaining challenges and that this problem is far from being solved. View details
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