Fine-Tuning BERT Models to Classify Misinformation on Garlic and COVID-19 on Twitter

Myeong Gyu Kim, Minjung Kim, Jae Hyun Kim, Kyungim Kim

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

8 Scopus citations


Garlic-related misinformation is prevalent whenever a virus outbreak occurs. With the outbreak of COVID-19, garlic-related misinformation is spreading through social media, including Twitter. Bidirectional Encoder Representations from Transformers (BERT) can be used to classify misinformation from a vast number of tweets. This study aimed to apply the BERT model for classifying misinformation on garlic and COVID-19 on Twitter, using 5929 original tweets mentioning garlic and COVID-19 (4151 for fine-tuning, 1778 for test). Tweets were manually labeled as ‘misinformation’ and ‘other.’ We fine-tuned five BERT models (BERTBASE, BERTLARGE, BERTweet-base, BERTweet-COVID-19, and BERTweet-large) using a general COVID-19 rumor dataset or a garlicspecific dataset. Accuracy and F1 score were calculated to evaluate the performance of the models. The BERT models fine-tuned with the COVID-19 rumor dataset showed poor performance, with maximum accuracy of 0.647. BERT models fine-tuned with the garlic-specific dataset showed better performance. BERTweet models achieved accuracy of 0.897–0.911, while BERTBASE and BERTLARGE achieved accuracy of 0.887–0.897. BERTweet-large showed the best performance with maximum accuracy of 0.911 and an F1 score of 0.894. Thus, BERT models showed good performance in classifying misinformation. The results of our study will help detect misinformation related to garlic and COVID-19 on Twitter.

Original languageEnglish
Article number5126
JournalInternational Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health
Issue number9
StatePublished - 1 May 2022

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
Funding: This work was supported by the Ewha Womans University Research Grant of 2020 (1-2020-1635-001-1).

Publisher Copyright:
© 2022 by the authors. Licensee MDPI, Basel, Switzerland.


  • COVID-19
  • Twitter
  • bidirectional encoder representations from transformers (BERT)
  • garlic
  • misinformation


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