Why Gender and Age Prediction from Tweets is Hard: Lessons from a Crowdsourcing Experiment

Dong-Phuong Nguyen, Rudolf Berend Trieschnigg, A. Seza Dogruoz, Rilana Gravel, Mariet Theune, Theo Meder, Franciska M.G. de Jong

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    70 Citations (Scopus)
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    There is a growing interest in automatically predicting the gender and age of authors from texts. However, most research so far ignores that language use is related to the social identity of speakers, which may be different from their biological identity. In this paper, we combine insights from sociolinguistics with data collected through an online game, to underline the importance of approaching age and gender as social variables rather than static biological variables. In our game, thousands of players guessed the gender and age of Twitter users based on tweets alone. We show that more than 10% of the Twitter users do not employ language that the crowd associates with their biological sex. It is also shown that older Twitter users are often perceived to be younger. Our findings highlight the limitations of current approaches to gender and age prediction from texts.
    Original languageUndefined
    Title of host publicationProceedings of the 25th International Conference on Computational Linguistics, COLING 2014
    PublisherAssociation for Computational Linguistics (ACL)
    Number of pages12
    ISBN (Print)978-1-941643-26-6
    Publication statusPublished - 23 Aug 2014
    Event25th International Conference on Computational Linguistics, COLING 2014 - Dublin, Ireland
    Duration: 23 Aug 201429 Aug 2014

    Publication series

    PublisherAssociation for Computational Linguistics


    Conference25th International Conference on Computational Linguistics, COLING 2014
    Other23-29 August 2014


    • EWI-25496
    • Twitter
    • natural language processing
    • Classification
    • METIS-309770
    • Crowdsourcing
    • Gender
    • IR-94100
    • Age

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