Enhanced Offensive Language Detection Through Data Augmentation

Ruibo Liu, Guangxuan Xu, Soroush Vosoughi

Detecting offensive language on social media is an important task. The ICWSM-2020 Data Challenge Task 2 is aimed at identifying offensive content using a crowd-sourced dataset containing 100k labelled tweets. The dataset, however, suffers from class imbalance, where certain labels are extremely rare compared with other classes (e.g, the hateful class is only 5% of the data). In this work, we present Dager (Data Augmenter), a generation-based data augmentation method, that improves the performance of classification on imbalanced and low-resource data such as the offensive language dataset. Dager extracts the lexical features of a given class, and uses these features to guide the generation of a conditional generator built on GPT-2. The generated text can then be added to the training set as augmentation data. We show that applying Dager can increase the F1 score of the data challenge by 11% when we use 1% of the whole dataset for training (using BERT for classification); moreover, the generated data also preserves the original labels very well. We test Dager on four different classifiers (BERT, CNN, Bi-LSTM with attention, and Transformer), observing universal improvement on the detection, indicating our method is effective and classifier-agnostic.

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