Global Pulse collaborated with Data2X and the University of Leiden to develop and prototype a tool to infer the sex of users.
The tool automates the process of looking up public information from Twitter profiles, in particular the user name and profile picture.
Using open source software, the tool analyses user names from a built-in database of predefined names (from sources such as official statistics) that contain gender information. User name alone may sometimes not be enough to discern sex, in which case the tool analyses profile photos, using face recognition software.
The tool was tested on more than 50 million Twitter accounts from around the world to understand the different concerns and priorities of women and men on topics related to sustainable development.