A Large-Scale Semi-Supervised Dataset for Offensive Language Identification

Sara Rosenthal, Pepa Atanasova, Georgi Karadzhov, Marcos Zampieri, Preslav Nakov

The use of offensive language is a major problem in social media which has led to an abundance of research in detecting content such as hate speech, cyberbulling, and cyber-aggression. There have been several attempts to consolidate and categorize these efforts. Recently, the OLID dataset used at SemEval-2019 proposed a hierarchical three-level annotation taxonomy which addresses different types of offensive language as well as important information such as the target of such content. The categorization provides meaningful and important information for understanding offensive language. However, the OLID dataset is limited in size, especially for some of the low-level categories, which included only a few hundred instances, thus making it challenging to train robust deep learning models. Here, we address this limitation by creating the largest available dataset for this task, SOLID. SOLID contains over nine million English tweets labeled in a semi-supervised manner. We further demonstrate experimentally that using SOLID along with OLID yields improved performance on the OLID test set for two different models, especially for the lower levels of the taxonomy. Finally, we perform analysis of the models' performance on easy and hard examples of offensive language using data annotated in a semi-supervised way.

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