Traditional Machine Learning Models and Bidirectional Encoder Representations From Transformer (BERT)–Based Automatic Classification of Tweets About Eating Disorders: Algorithm Development and Validation Study Academic Article uri icon


  • Background Eating disorders affect an increasing number of people. Social networks provide information that can help. Objective We aimed to find machine learning models capable of efficiently categorizing tweets about eating disorders domain. Methods We collected tweets related to eating disorders, for 3 consecutive months. After preprocessing, a subset of 2000 tweets was labeled: (1) messages written by people suffering from eating disorders or not, (2) messages promoting suffering from eating disorders or not, (3) informative messages or not, and (4) scientific or nonscientific messages. Traditional machine learning and deep learning models were used to classify tweets. We evaluated accuracy, F1 score, and computational time for each model. Results A total of 1,058,957 tweets related to eating disorders were collected. were obtained in the 4 categorizations, with The bidirectional encoder representations from transformer–based models had the best score among the machine learning and deep learning techniques applied to the 4 categorization tasks (F1 scores 71.1%-86.4%). Conclusions Bidirectional encoder representations from transformer–based models have better performance, although their computational cost is significantly higher than those of traditional techniques, in classifying eating disorder–related tweets.


  • Benítez-Andrades, José Alberto
  • Alija-Pérez, José-Manuel
  • Vidal, Maria-Esther
  • Pastor-Vargas, Rafael
  • García-Ordás, María Teresa

publication date

  • 2022

start page

  • e34492


  • 10


  • 2