Workshop Proceedings of the 15th International AAAI Conference on Web and Social Media

Workshop: International Workshop on Social Sensing (SocialSens 2021): Special Edition on Information Operations on Social Media

DOI: 10.36190/2021.37

Published: 2021-06-01
Analyzing COVID-19 Tweets with Transformer-based Language Models
Philip Feldman, Sim Tiwari, Charissa S. L. Cheah, James R. Foulds, Shimei Pan

This paper describes a method for using Transformer-based Language Models (TLMs) to understand public opinion from social media posts. In this approach, we train a set of GPT models on several COVID-19 tweet corpora that reflect populations of users with distinctive views. We then use prompt based queries to probe these models to reveal insights into the biases and opinions of the users. We demonstrate how this approach can be used to produce results which resemble polling the public on diverse social, political and public health issues. The results on the COVID-19 tweet data show that transformer language models are promising tools that can help us understand public opinions on social media at scale.