NAYA| U.S. news outlets: Gender gap in Facebook posts

On average, a man’s face appeared 10 percent larger than a woman’s face.
by Sally Farhat

31 May 2019 | 11:38

Source: by Annahar

  • by Sally Farhat
  • Source: Annahar
  • Last update: 31 May 2019 | 11:38

(Pew Research Center/ AFP photo)

BEIRUT: A recent study published by the Pew Research Center revealed that U.S. news outlets are twice as likely to accompany their news stories on Facebook with images of men rather than women.

Researchers used machine vision to analyze the frequency of women’s representation in news pictures posted on Facebook by 17 U.S. based media outlets.

These media outlets were examined between April and June 2018 and included: The New York Times, The Washington Post, ABC News, BuzzFeed News, CBS News, CNN, Fox News, HuffPost, NBC News, Newsweek, NPR, Time, U.S. News & World Report, USA Today, Yahoo News, Vice, and Vox.

A total of 53,067 individuals were identified across the 22,342 analyzed images. The results revealed that men seemed to either dominate group images or exclusively take over these images 67 percent of the time, while women only did so 33 percent of the time.

Moreover, “photos including both men and women were slightly more common (25 percent) than those that showed women alone (22 percent),” the research stated.

Results additionally indicated that in group photos, men did not only exceed the number of women but, also took more frame space. On average, a man’s face appeared 10 percent larger than a woman’s face.

Lastly, the research outcomes further disclosed that the frequency of women vs. men appearance in news images differed depending on the various news categories.

“Across several different types of news content on Facebook, women appear in images at a consistently lower rate than men,” the research mentioned.

While all studied categories were dominated by men, pictures associated with entertainment news had the largest share of female presence (40 percent) in comparison to other categories. Nonetheless, posts related to the economy had the “largest gender gap,” according to the research.

“Just 9 percent of these [economy] posts exclusively depicted women, while 69 percent showed exclusively men– less than half the rate that women appeared in posts about entertainment,” the study stated.

Other news categories studied included immigration, where women only appeared 33 percent of the time, and sports, where women only made up 26 percent of the represented individuals in photos.

“On average, none of the media outlets examined in the study showed more women than men in news photos,” the research stated. “Overall, researchers used a model that achieved 95 percent accuracy when tested on a subset of the data it was trained with, and 87 percent accuracy when using human judgments as a ground truth.”


Welcome to “Naya,” the newest addition to Annahar’s coverage. This section aims at fortifying Lebanese women’s voices by highlighting their talents, challenges, innovations, and women’s empowerment. We will also be reporting on the world of work, family, style, health, and culture. Naya is devoted to women of all generations — Naya Editor, Sally Farhat: [email protected]

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