How to detect propaganda from social media? Exploitation of semantic and fine-tuned language models
Online propaganda is a mechanism to influence the opinions of social media users. It is a growing menace to public health, democratic institutions, and public society. The present study proposes a propaganda detection framework as a binary classification model based on a news repository. Several feature models are explored to develop a robust model such as part-of-speech, LIWC, word uni-gram, Embeddings from Language Models (ELMo), FastText, word2vec, latent semantic analysis (LSA), and char tri-gram feature models. Moreover, fine-tuning of the BERT is also performed. Three oversampling methods are investigated to handle the imbalance status of the Qprop dataset. SMOTE Edited Nearest Neighbors (ENN) presented the best results. The fine-tuning of BERT revealed that the BERT-320 sequence length is the best model. As a standalone model, the char tri-gram presented superior performance as compared to other features. The robust performance is observed against the combination of char tri-gram + BERT and char tri-gram + word2vec and they outperformed the two state-of-the-art baselines. In contrast to prior approaches, the addition of feature selection further improves the performance and achieved more than 97.60% recall, f1-score, and AUC on the dev and test part of the dataset. The findings of the present study can be used to organize news articles for various public news websites.