Clippers 11/12: Mounica Maddela on Hashtag Segmentation

Multi-task Pairwise Neural Ranking for Hashtag Segmentation

Mounica Maddela

Hashtags are often employed on social media with the goal of increasing discoverability, aiding search, or providing additional semantics. However, the semantic content of hashtags is not straightforward to infer as these represent ad-hoc conventions which frequently include multiple words joined together and can include abbreviations and unorthodox spellings. We build a dataset of 12,594 hashtags split into individual segments and propose a set of approaches for hashtag segmentation by framing it as a pairwise ranking problem between candidate segmentations. Our novel neural approaches demonstrate a 24.6% error reduction in hashtag segmentation accuracy compared to the current state-of-the-art method. Finally, we demonstrate that a deeper understanding of hashtag semantics obtained through segmentation is useful for downstream applications such as sentiment analysis, for which we achieved a 2.6% increase in average recall on the SemEval 2017 sentiment analysis dataset.