Ammar Joukhadar


DamascusTeam at NLP4IF2021: Fighting the Arabic COVID-19 Infodemic on Twitter Using AraBERT
Ahmad Hussein | Nada Ghneim | Ammar Joukhadar
Proceedings of the Fourth Workshop on NLP for Internet Freedom: Censorship, Disinformation, and Propaganda

The objective of this work was the introduction of an effective approach based on the AraBERT language model for fighting Tweets COVID-19 Infodemic. It was arranged in the form of a two-step pipeline, where the first step involved a series of pre-processing procedures to transform Twitter jargon, including emojis and emoticons, into plain text, and the second step exploited a version of AraBERT, which was pre-trained on plain text, to fine-tune and classify the tweets with respect to their Label. The use of language models pre-trained on plain texts rather than on tweets was motivated by the necessity to address two critical issues shown by the scientific literature, namely (1) pre-trained language models are widely available in many languages, avoiding the time-consuming and resource-intensive model training directly on tweets from scratch, allowing to focus only on their fine-tuning; (2) available plain text corpora are larger than tweet-only ones, allowing for better performance.