Maxwell Weinzierl


VaccineLies: A Natural Language Resource for Learning to Recognize Misinformation about the COVID-19 and HPV Vaccines
Maxwell Weinzierl | Sanda Harabagiu
Proceedings of the Thirteenth Language Resources and Evaluation Conference

Billions of COVID-19 vaccines have been administered, but many remain hesitant. Misinformation about the COVID-19 vaccines and other vaccines, propagating on social media, is believed to drive hesitancy towards vaccination. The ability to automatically recognize misinformation targeting vaccines on Twitter depends on the availability of data resources. In this paper we present VaccineLies, a large collection of tweets propagating misinformation about two vaccines: the COVID-19 vaccines and the Human Papillomavirus (HPV) vaccines. Misinformation targets are organized in vaccine-specific taxonomies, which reveal the misinformation themes and concerns. The ontological commitments of the misinformation taxonomies provide an understanding of which misinformation themes and concerns dominate the discourse about the two vaccines covered in VaccineLies. The organization into training, testing and development sets of VaccineLies invites the development of novel supervised methods for detecting misinformation on Twitter and identifying the stance towards it. Furthermore, VaccineLies can be a stepping stone for the development of datasets focusing on misinformation targeting additional vaccines.


HLTRI at W-NUT 2020 Shared Task-3: COVID-19 Event Extraction from Twitter Using Multi-Task Hopfield Pooling
Maxwell Weinzierl | Sanda Harabagiu
Proceedings of the Sixth Workshop on Noisy User-generated Text (W-NUT 2020)

Extracting structured knowledge involving self-reported events related to the COVID-19 pandemic from Twitter has the potential to inform surveillance systems that play a critical role in public health. The event extraction challenge presented by the W-NUT 2020 Shared Task 3 focused on the identification of five types of events relevant to the COVID-19 pandemic and their respective set of pre-defined slots encoding demographic, epidemiological, clinical as well as spatial, temporal or subjective knowledge. Our participation in the challenge led to the design of a neural architecture for jointly identifying all Event Slots expressed in a tweet relevant to an event of interest. This architecture uses COVID-Twitter-BERT as the pre-trained language model. In addition, to learn text span embeddings for each Event Slot, we relied on a special case of Hopfield Networks, namely Hopfield pooling. The results of the shared task evaluation indicate that our system performs best when it is trained on a larger dataset, while it remains competitive when training on smaller datasets.