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Hashtagger+: Efficient High-Coverage Social Tagging of Streaming News

Publication Type: 
Refereed Original Article
Abstract—News and social media now play a synergistic role and neither domain can be grasped in isolation. On one hand, platforms such as Twitter have taken a central role in the dissemination and consumption of news. On the other hand, news editors rely on social media for following their audience’s attention and for crowd-sourcing news stories. Twitter hashtags function as a key connection between Twitter crowds and the news media, by naturally naming and contextualizing stories, grouping the discussion of news and marking topic trends. In this work we propose Hashtagger+, an efficient learning-to-rank framework for merging news and social streams in real-time, by recommending Twitter hashtags to news articles. We provide an extensive study of different approaches for streaming hashtag recommendation, and show that pointwise learning-to-rank is more effective than multi-class classification as well as more complex learning-to-rank approaches. We improve the efficiency and coverage of a state-of-the-art hashtag recommendation model by proposing new techniques for data collection and feature computation. In our comprehensive evaluation on real-data we show that we drastically outperform the accuracy and efficiency of prior methods. Our prototype system delivers recommendations in under 1 minute, with a Precision@1 of 94% and article coverage of 80%. This is an order of magnitude faster than prior approaches, and brings improvements of 5% in precision and 20% in coverage. By effectively linking the news stream to the social stream via the recommended hashtags, we open the door to solving many challenging problems related to story detection and tracking. To showcase this potential, we present an application of our recommendations to automated news story tracking via social tags. Our recommendation framework is implemented in a real-time Web system available from
Digital Object Identifer (DOI): 
Publication Status: 
Date Accepted for Publication: 
Monday, 1 January, 2018
Publication Date: 
National University of Ireland, Dublin (UCD)
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