Automatic Discovery of Meme Genres with Diverse Appearances

Meme Graph

Source: William Theisen, Joel Brogan, Pamela Bilo Thomas, Daniel Moreira, Pascal Phoa, Tim Weninger, Walter Scheirer
Affiliation: Proceedings of the Fifteenth International AAAI Conference on Web and Social Media

This academic paper has the following abstract:

Forms of human communication are not static — we expect some evolution in the way information is conveyed over time because of advances in technology. One example of this phe- nomenon is the image-based meme, which has emerged as a dominant form of political messaging in the past decade. While originally used to spread jokes on social media, memes are now having an outsized impact on public perception of world events, making them an important focus of study. A significant challenge in automatic meme analysis has been the development of a strategy to match memes from within a sin- gle genre when the appearances of the images vary greatly. In this paper we introduce a scalable automated visual recogni- tion pipeline for discovering meme genres of diverse appear- ance. This pipeline can ingest meme images from a social network, apply computer vision-based techniques to extract local features and index new images into a database, and then organize the memes into related genres. To validate this ap- proach, we perform a large case study on the 2019 Indonesian Presidential Election using a new dataset of over two million images collected from Twitter and Instagram, and examine a collection of humorous memes posted to Reddit. Results show that this approach can discover new meme genres with visually diverse images that share common stylistic elements, paving the way forward for further work in semantic analysis and content attribution.

Keywords: Computer Science , Memes , Tech Ethics