COVID-19-related Nepali Tweets Classification in a Low Resource Setting


Billions of people across the globe have been using social media platforms in their local languages to voice their opinions about the various topics related to the COVID-19 pandemic. Several organizations, including the World Health Organization, have developed automated social media analysis tools that classify COVID-19-related tweets to various topics. However, these tools that help combat the pandemic are limited to very few languages, making several countries unable to take their benefit. While multi-lingual or low-resource language-specific tools are being developed, there is still a need to expand their coverage, such as for the Nepali language. In this paper, we identify the eight most common COVID-19 discussion topics among the Twitter community using the Nepali language, set up an online platform to automatically gather Nepali tweets containing the COVID-19-related keywords, classify the tweets into the eight topics, and visualize the results across the period in a web-based dashboard. We compare the performance of two state-of-the-art multi-lingual language models for Nepali tweet classification, one generic (mBERT) and the other Nepali language family-specific model (MuRIL). Our results show that the models’ relative performance depends on the data size, with MuRIL doing better for a larger dataset. The annotated data, models, and the web-based dashboard are open-sourced at

In Proceedings of The Seventh Workshop on Social Media Mining for Health Applications, Workshop & Shared Task