Automated Selection of Social Media Responses to News

author: Tadej Štajner, Artificial Intelligence Laboratory, Jožef Stefan Institute
published: Sept. 27, 2013,   recorded: August 2013,   views: 94


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Social media responses to news have increasingly gained in importance as they can enhance a consumer's news reading experience, promote information sharing and aid journalists in assessing their readership's response to a story. Given that the number of responses to an online news article may be huge, a common challenge is that of selecting only the most interesting responses for display. This paper addresses this challenge by casting message selection as an optimization problem. We defi ne an objective function which jointly models the messages' utility scores and their entropy. We propose a near-optimal solution to the underlying optimization problem, which leverages the submodularity property of the objective function. Our solution first learns the utility of individual messages in isolation and then produces a diverse selection of interesting messages by maximizing the defi ned objective function. The intuitions behind our work are that an interesting selection of messages contains diverse, informative, opinionated and popular messages referring to the news article, written mostly by users that have authority on the topic. Our intuitions are embodied by a rich set of content, social and user features capturing the aforementioned aspects. We evaluate our approach through both human and automatic experiments, and demonstrate it outperforms the state of the art. Additionally, we perform an in-depth analysis of the annotated "interesting" responses, shedding light on the subjectivity around the selection process and the perception of interestingness.

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