Inferring social media users’ demographics from profile pictures: A Face++ analysis on Twitter users

Abstract

In this research, we evaluate the applicability of using facial recognition of social media account profile pictures to infer the demographic attributes of gender, race, and age of the account owners leveraging a commercial and well-known image service, specifically Face++. Our goal is to determine the feasibility of this approach for actual system implementation. Using a dataset of approximately 10,000 Twitter profile pictures, we use Face++ to classify this set of images for gender, race, and age. We determine that about 30% of these profile pictures contain identifiable images of people using the current state-of-the-art automated means. We then employ human evaluations to manually tag both the set of images that were determined to contain faces and the set that was determined not to contain faces, comparing the results to Face++. Of the thirty percent that Face++ identified as containing a face, about 80% are more likely than not the account holder based on our manual classification, with a variety of issues in the remaining 20%. Of the images that Face++ was unable to detect a face, we isolate a variety of likely issues preventing this detection, when a face actually appeared in the image. Overall, we find the applicability of automatic facial recognition to infer demographics for system development to be problematic, despite the reported high accuracy achieved for image test collections

Publication
Proceedings of 17th International Conference on Electronic Business

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