Atanas Atanasov


2020

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Predicting the Topical Stance and Political Leaning of Media using Tweets
Peter Stefanov | Kareem Darwish | Atanas Atanasov | Preslav Nakov
Proceedings of the 58th Annual Meeting of the Association for Computational Linguistics

Discovering the stances of media outlets and influential people on current, debatable topics is important for social statisticians and policy makers. Many supervised solutions exist for determining viewpoints, but manually annotating training data is costly. In this paper, we propose a cascaded method that uses unsupervised learning to ascertain the stance of Twitter users with respect to a polarizing topic by leveraging their retweet behavior; then, it uses supervised learning based on user labels to characterize both the general political leaning of online media and of popular Twitter users, as well as their stance with respect to the target polarizing topic. We evaluate the model by comparing its predictions to gold labels from the Media Bias/Fact Check website, achieving 82.6% accuracy.

2019

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Predicting the Role of Political Trolls in Social Media
Atanas Atanasov | Gianmarco De Francisci Morales | Preslav Nakov
Proceedings of the 23rd Conference on Computational Natural Language Learning (CoNLL)

We investigate the political roles of “Internet trolls” in social media. Political trolls, such as the ones linked to the Russian Internet Research Agency (IRA), have recently gained enormous attention for their ability to sway public opinion and even influence elections. Analysis of the online traces of trolls has shown different behavioral patterns, which target different slices of the population. However, this analysis is manual and labor-intensive, thus making it impractical as a first-response tool for newly-discovered troll farms. In this paper, we show how to automate this analysis by using machine learning in a realistic setting. In particular, we show how to classify trolls according to their political role —left, news feed, right— by using features extracted from social media, i.e., Twitter, in two scenarios: (i) in a traditional supervised learning scenario, where labels for trolls are available, and (ii) in a distant supervision scenario, where labels for trolls are not available, and we rely on more-commonly-available labels for news outlets mentioned by the trolls. Technically, we leverage the community structure and the text of the messages in the online social network of trolls represented as a graph, from which we extract several types of learned representations, i.e., embeddings, for the trolls. Experiments on the “IRA Russian Troll” dataset show that our methodology improves over the state-of-the-art in the first scenario, while providing a compelling case for the second scenario, which has not been explored in the literature thus far.

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Resolving Gendered Ambiguous Pronouns with BERT
Matei Ionita | Yury Kashnitsky | Ken Krige | Vladimir Larin | Atanas Atanasov | Dennis Logvinenko
Proceedings of the First Workshop on Gender Bias in Natural Language Processing

Pronoun resolution is part of coreference resolution, the task of pairing an expression to its referring entity. This is an important task for natural language understanding and a necessary component of machine translation systems, chat bots and assistants. Neural machine learning systems perform far from ideally in this task, reaching as low as 73% F1 scores on modern benchmark datasets. Moreover, they tend to perform better for masculine pronouns than for feminine ones. Thus, the problem is both challenging and important for NLP researchers and practitioners. In this project, we describe our BERT-based approach to solving the problem of gender-balanced pronoun resolution. We are able to reach 92% F1 score and a much lower gender bias on the benchmark dataset shared by Google AI Language team.

2018

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Tweety at SemEval-2018 Task 2: Predicting Emojis using Hierarchical Attention Neural Networks and Support Vector Machine
Daniel Kopev | Atanas Atanasov | Dimitrina Zlatkova | Momchil Hardalov | Ivan Koychev | Ivelina Nikolova | Galia Angelova
Proceedings of The 12th International Workshop on Semantic Evaluation

We present the system built for SemEval-2018 Task 2 on Emoji Prediction. Although Twitter messages are very short we managed to design a wide variety of features: textual, semantic, sentiment, emotion-, and color-related ones. We investigated different methods of text preprocessing including replacing text emojis with respective tokens and splitting hashtags to capture more meaning. To represent text we used word n-grams and word embeddings. We experimented with a wide range of classifiers and our best results were achieved using a SVM-based classifier and a Hierarchical Attention Neural Network.