Workshop Proceedings of the 17th International AAAI Conference on Web and Social Media

Workshop: PhoMemes 2023: Second Workshop on Images in Online Political Communication

DOI: 10.36190/2023.32

Published: 2023-06-01
Categorizing Memes about Abortion
Yashna Nainani, Kaveh Khoshnood, Ashley Feng, Muhammad Siddique, Clara Broekaert, Allie Wong, Koustuv Saha, Roy Ka-Wei Lee, Zach Schwitzky, Lam Yin Cheung, Frederick L. Altice, Navin Kumar

Abortion is a highly polarized issue in the US, resulting in a large number of pro- and anti-abortion memes on social media platforms. Identifying broad meme themes is crucial for developing a targeted and strategic counter response to rampant polarization regarding this contentious medical procedure. We address the indicated issue through the following contributions: 1) Creation of an annotated dataset of pro- (n=230) and anti-abortion (n=187) memes; 2) Identification of broad themes within the pro- and anti-abortion categories. Results demonstrated that both pro- and anti-abortion memes characterize the opposing side as being disingenuous and inconsistent, likely contributing to increased polarization. Stakeholders including healthcare providers and lawmakers may utilize our findings to develop targeted strategies to mitigate polarization.