Classifying online corporate reputation with machine learning: a study in the banking domain

Anette Rantanen, Joni Salminen, Filip Ginter, Bernard J. Jansen

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

26 Scopus citations


Purpose: User-generated social media comments can be a useful source of information for understanding online corporate reputation. However, the manual classification of these comments is challenging due to their high volume and unstructured nature. The purpose of this paper is to develop a classification framework and machine learning model to overcome these limitations. Design/methodology/approach: The authors create a multi-dimensional classification framework for the online corporate reputation that includes six main dimensions synthesized from prior literature: quality, reliability, responsibility, successfulness, pleasantness and innovativeness. To evaluate the classification framework’s performance on real data, the authors retrieve 19,991 social media comments about two Finnish banks and use a convolutional neural network (CNN) to classify automatically the comments based on manually annotated training data. Findings: After parameter optimization, the neural network achieves an accuracy between 52.7 and 65.2 percent on real-world data, which is reasonable given the high number of classes. The findings also indicate that prior work has not captured all the facets of online corporate reputation. Practical implications: For practical purposes, the authors provide a comprehensive classification framework for online corporate reputation, which companies and organizations operating in various domains can use. Moreover, the authors demonstrate that using a limited amount of training data can yield a satisfactory multiclass classifier when using CNN. Originality/value: This is the first attempt at automatically classifying online corporate reputation using an online-specific classification framework.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)45-66
Number of pages22
JournalInternet Research
Issue number1
StatePublished - Apr 27 2020

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Communication
  • Sociology and Political Science
  • Economics and Econometrics


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