Men On Twitter Biased Towards Women: Research

Men On Twitter Biased Towards Women: Research
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Conversations on Twitter Inc (NYSE:TWTR) show that gender bias is real on the micro-blogging site. New research says that conversations among men feature fewer mentions of females. Scientists applied the Bechdel Test to real-life conversations via Twitter by using an algorithm. They also tried to relate it to gender bias in movies.

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Scientists used the Bechdel test to conduct the study

The Bechdel test was developed in 1985 by U.S. cartoonist Alison Bechdel. It shows whether a movie has a minimum of female independence. To pass the test, a movie must contain a scene where two or more named female characters talk about anything besides men. To conduct the study, researchers chose U.S. Twitter Inc (NYSE:TWTR) users who had shared the link to a movie trailer on YouTube in June 2013. Scientists also included users in the study who interacted with them (those who shared links) over a long period of time.

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David Garcia, a scientist at the Chair of Systems Design at ETH Zurich, said they analyzed about 300 million tweets like a movie script with 170,000 characters to build an interaction network. Garcia said he expected Men on Twitter Inc (NYSE:TWTR) to mention females in their conversations as often as women mentioned men. But the analysis revealed that male conversations featured fewer mentions of women. 

Female Twitter users are more balanced

In contrast, there were more female conversations on Twitter Inc (NYSE:TWTR) that mentioned men than conversations without a male reference. Anyway, the male bias isn’t found in all Twitter users. For instance, conversations of students were more balanced with respect to the other gender. However, tweets of fathers were much more male-biased. Their interaction with female users was rare, and they mentioned women less often than childless men.

Twitter Inc (NYSE:TWTR) users who passed the Bechdel test were found to share links to trailers that also passed the test. Trailers of movies that passed the test were shared less often on Twitter and had relatively fewer positive ratings on YouTube compared to movies with a male bias. That means trailers and movies with a male bias had more fans.

In contrast, conversations on MySpace reflected less gender bias than on Twitter Inc (NYSE:TWTR). Use of Twitter has also been linked to infidelity by another study.

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  1. Given that movies that pass the test make more, it’s hard to equate the “movies that don’t have fewer fans” with actual box office returns. Basically, YouTube hits and Twitter posts =/= empirical data about how many fans a movie does or doesn’t have. It can be part of the equation (though without addressing age demo for social media users in general, not to mention how many different links exist to numerous different times trailers are posted on YouTube, it’s hardly a statistically reliable part of the picture)

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