BackgroundAs the COVID-19 pandemic progressed, disinformation, fake news, and conspiracy theories spread through many parts of society. However, the disinformation spreading through social media is, according to the literature, one of the causes of increased COVID-19 vaccine hesitancy. In this context, the analysis of social media posts is particularly important, but the large amount of data exchanged on social media platforms requires specific methods. This is why machine learning and natural language processing models are increasingly applied to social media data.
ObjectiveThe aim of this study is to examine the capability of the CamemBERT French-language model to faithfully predict the elaborated categories, with the knowledge that tweets about vaccination are often ambiguous, sarcastic, or irrelevant to the studied topic.
MethodsA total of 901,908 unique French-language tweets related to vaccination published between July 12, 2021, and August 11, 2021, were extracted using Twitter's application programming interface (version 2; Twitter Inc). Approximately 2000 randomly selected tweets were labeled with 2 types of categorizations: (1) arguments for (pros) or against (cons) vaccination (health measures included) and (2) type of content (scientific, political, social, or vaccination status). The CamemBERT model was fine-tuned and tested for the classification of French-language tweets. The model's performance was assessed by computing the F1-score, and confusion matrices were obtained.
ResultsThe accuracy of the applied machine learning reached up to 70.6% for the first classification (pro and con tweets) and up to 90% for the second classification (scientific and political tweets). Furthermore, a tweet was 1.86 times more likely to be incorrectly classified by the model if it contained fewer than 170 characters (odds ratio 1.86; 95% CI 1.20-2.86).
ConclusionsThe accuracy of the model is affected by the classification chosen and the topic of the message examined. When the vaccine debate is jostled by contested political decisions, tweet content becomes so heterogeneous that the accuracy of the model drops for less differentiated classes. However, our tests showed that it is possible to improve the accuracy by selecting tweets using a new method based on tweet length.
PROVIDER: S-EPMC9116457 | BioStudies |