Detecting User Emotions in Twitter through Collective Classification
Ileri and Pinar Karagoz
Department of Computer Engineering, Middle East Technical University, 06800, Ankara, Turkey
Social Networks, Emotion Analysis, Sentiment Analysis, Collective Classification.
The explosion in the use of social networks has generated a big amount of data including user opinions about
varying subjects. For classifying the sentiment of user postings, many text-based techniques have been pro-
posed in the literature. As a continuation of sentiment analysis, there are also studies on the emotion analysis.
Due to the fact that many different emotions are needed to be dealt with at this point, the problem gets more
complicated as the number of emotions to be detected increases. In this study, a different user-centric approach
for emotion detection is considered such that connected users may be more likely to hold similar emotions;
therefore, leveraging relationship information can complement emotion inference task in social networks.
Employing Twitter as a source for experimental data and working with the proposed collective classification
algorithm, emotions of the users are predicted in a collaborative setting.
Recent advances in social networks increase the ways
of explaining ideas on diverse subjects. Moreover
users can share their opinions with their online friends
in a collaborative manner. All that rich information
sources make the social networks a suitable working
base for researchers.
Effective methodologies and techniques are re-
quired to extract various kinds of information from
social networks automatically. Among them, iden-
tifying users’ sentiments on a product or service
has turned into a valid indicator of marketing suc-
cess. Apart from the classical sentiment analysis al-
gorithms, networked data include valuable relation-
ship information that can contribute to this analysis
process beside textual contexts that are produced by
the users. Such data is can be useful in emotion anal-
ysis, in which, instead of detection of sentimentality,
the type of sentimentality is further detected in terms
of different kinds of emotions.
In this study, collective classification algorithms,
which constitute a sub-field of link mining field, are
applied within the context of emotion analysis in mi-
croblogs. As the microblog, Twitter is used as the
data source. In our setting, Twitter users are nodes
and their relationships are edges, which are extracted
from retweets or user mentions (@) in tweets. Giv-
ing graph structure as input to collective classifica-
tion framework, unknownemotion labels for users are
predicted by utilizing their labeled neighbors. The
performance of relational classifiers are experimented
under different configurations.
Since the collected tweets are in Turkish, in ad-
dition to tokenization, Turkish morphological anal-
ysis and stemming are applied as well. However,
apart from this, all of the remaining methods are
equally applicable to the texts in other languages as
well. With the aim of applying collective classifica-
tion techniques on the context of emotion analysis in
social networks, to the best of our knowledge, this is
the first work in the literature. The contribution of the
study can be summarized as follows:
Collective classification algorithms are applied on
the context of emotion analysis in social networks.
The performance under various settings are inves-
tigated as well.
A new Twitter dataset (EmoDS) is gathered with
its uniquely generated relationship information.
The paper is organized as follows. Section 2
presents a summary of the related studies in the litera-
ture, which includes emotion analysis and link-based
sentiment analysis methodologies. Section 3 provides
background about employed collective classification
methods. Section 4 presents proposed method for
emotion detection with collective classification and
applied steps for data gathering, preprocessing, and
relationship construction. Section 5 shows the related
experiments and their results. Lastly, Section 6 con-
I. and Karagoz, P.
Detecting User Emotions in Twitter through Collective Classification.
DOI: 10.5220/0006037502050212
In Proceedings of the 8th International Joint Conference on Knowledge Discovery, Knowledge Engineering and Knowledge Management (IC3K 2016) - Volume 1: KDIR, pages 205-212
ISBN: 978-989-758-203-5
2016 by SCITEPRESS – Science and Technology Publications, Lda. All rights reserved
cludes with final remarks about this study and gives
future directions.
In this section, we summarize the related studies on
emotion analysis and link-based classification.
2.1 Emotion Analysis
Basically, there are two main approaches in the liter-
ature for emotion detection on texts. The first one is
the text classification based methods that build classi-
fiers from labeled text data as in traditional supervised
learning. The second method that detects the emo-
tional states especially in tweets is the lexicon-based
approach. For this approach, an emotion lexicon is
Regarding the field of psychology, Ekman (Ek-
man, 1999) defined 7 emotions that are categorized
by observable human facial expressions. Kozareva et
al. (Kozareva et al., 2007) classified news headlines
using these emotion classes. They averaged differ-
ent web search engines hit counts’ on the emotional
classes and news headlines as query words.
Alm et al. (Alm et al., 2005) presented empirical
results of applying supervised machine learning tech-
niques to categorize English fairy tale sentences into
different emotions. They proposed their own text-
based classifier algorithm (SNoW) and it achieved
significant accuracy results. Go et al. (Go et al., 2009)
applied supervised learning methods to classify col-
lected Twitter data into binary sentiments as positive
or negative.
Boynukaln (Boynukalin, 2012) worked on two
data sets. One of them is the Turkish translation of
data and the other is the manually labeled
Turkish fairy tales. Emotion levelsare predicted using
different n-gram feature constructions and weighted
log likelihood algorithm (Nigam et al., 2000) is uti-
lized to determine most significant features.
Akba et al. (Akba et al., 2014) investigated the
feature selection methods on Turkish movie reviews.
They labeled their corpus by dividing emotions into
three categories as positive, negative and neutral. In
their experiments, supervised methods had been em-
ployed for the classification of movie reviews into two
or three categories. Tocoglu et al. (Tocoglu and Alp-
kocak, 2014) proposed an emotion extraction system
from Turkish texts, which is based on text classifi-
cation approach. Applying Naive Bayes classifier in
Weka achieved promising accuracy result.
Demirci (Demirci, 2014) classified Turkish tweets
into six emotion categories (anger, surprised, fear,
sadness, joy and disgust) with supervised learn-
ing. Beside the classical text preprocessing opera-
tions, morphological analysis is applied as well. Fi-
nally, several supervised classification methods are
compared with the baseline algorithm of Boynukaln
(Boynukalin, 2012).
2.2 Link-based Classification
In this work, a subfield of link mining, which is called
collective classification, is used. Briefly, it aims to
predict the labels of objects by using relationships
among them. The main challenge is to design an al-
gorithm for collective classification that uses associ-
ations between object classes and jointly infer their
labels in the graph.
Chakrabarti et al. (Chakrabarti et al., 1998) work
on the problem of categorizing related news objects
in the Reuters dataset. They are the first to lever-
age class labels of related instances and also their at-
tributes. Although using class labels improves clas-
sification accuracy, the same thing does not apply for
considering attributes.
Neville and Jensen (Neville and Jensen, 2000)
propose a simple link based classification method that
classifies corporate datasets involving heterogeneous
graphs with different set of features.
Lu and Getoor (Lu and Getoor, 2003) aim to en-
hance traditional machine learning algorithm by in-
troducing new features that are built out of correla-
tions between objects. As a result, a new link based
classification algorithm that uses probability terms
such as Markov blanket of related class labels, is de-
Pang and Lee (Pang and Lee, 2004) seek to de-
termine sentiment polarities of movie reviews by ex-
tracting subjective portions of the sentences. For this
purpose, they use a graph-based technique that finds
the minimum cuts. By this way, contextual informa-
tion is added in polarity classification process and sig-
nificant accuracy improvement is achieved.
In the literature, the most similar study to our work
is the one by Rabelo et al. (Rabelo et al., 2012),
which proposes an user centric approach on the con-
text of sentiment analysis. They have classified Twit-
ter user’s political opinions into binary classes by us-
ing collective classification. Their algorithm takes a
partially labeled graph, applies a graph pruning pro-
cess and runs the collectiveclassification. Preliminary
experiments have shown promising results.
KDIR 2016 - 8th International Conference on Knowledge Discovery and Information Retrieval
It is an important issue to investigate how objects in-
fluence each other in network, such as how user’s
emotions are affected by his/her relationships in Twit-
ter. This can be generalized to the problem of finding
the labels of the entities in the network.
Collective classification can be seen as a relational
optimization task for networked data. According to
algorithms nature, different relational objective func-
tions are optimized within collective inference tech-
niques. Constructed relational features can be used
for the inference task. However, most of the local
classifiers use only fixed-size feature vectors, whereas
neighbor counts vary considerably in networked data.
For instance, a Twitter user can have many followers.
Although it is not a preferred method, by considering
limited (equal) number of connections for each user,
fixed-size feature vectors could be constructed.
A desirable solution is to apply aggregation tech-
niques to summarize the node’s neighborhood infor-
mation. For example, the number of neighbors that
have different class labels could be counted and added
as a new feature to node. Class labels may be replaced
or supported with local attributes. For numerical at-
tributes, it is also possible to use statistical methods
such as minimum, maximum, median, mode, ratio.
On the other hand, for each pair of neighboring
nodes, similarities of their local attributes can be con-
sidered exactly. In this study, a similar method is dis-
cussed but not only implemented as an aggregation
method but also used as a weight in relational prob-
ability calculations. Perlich and Provost (Perlich and
Provost, 2003) discuss aggregation-basedfeature con-
struction as the relational concept in more detail.
We can divide collective classification into three
models. These models are described as follows:
1. Local (Non-relational) Model. This model is
learned for target (class) variable by using the lo-
cal attributes of the nodes in the network. Al-
ternatively, classical supervised learning methods
such as naive Bayes or decision trees can be em-
ployed. In this study, the priors are estimated by
using Bayesian approach, which uses available lo-
cal attributes of the nodes to estimate its class-
2. Relational Model. Relational features and links
among entities come into prominence for this
component. It builds different objective func-
tions to estimate node’s target attribute probabili-
ties with its neighborhood. It is also possible to
benefit from local attributes of the neighboring
3. Collective Inference. Created relational objec-
tive functions are generally the joint probability
distributions which are based on Markov Random
Fields. For example computing relational objec-
tive functions needs collective inference methods
such as iterative classification and relaxation la-
beling. As a result, it is aimed to find out how a
node’s classification is influenced from its neigh-
bors classification in a collaborative setting.
Netkit-SRL (or Netkit) (Macskassy and Provost,
2007), is an open source Network Learning Toolkit
for Statistical Relational Learning. It is coded in
Java and it can be integrated with Weka (Hall et al.,
2009) data mining tool. It allows to combine differ-
ent types of components for relational classification
on networked data as well as to design new classi-
fier components and use them with different configu-
Within the scope of this work, we use the fol-
lowing relational models. Weighted-vote relational
neighbor classifier (wvrn) produces a weighted mean
of class membership probability estimations from
node’s neighbors. Probabilistic relational neighbor
classifier (prn) estimates a particular node’s class
label probability by multiplying each neighboring
node’s class prior probability values. The class distri-
bution relational neighbor classifier (cdrn-norm-cos)
creates an average class vector for each class of node
and then estimates a label for a new node by calcu-
lating how near that new node is to each of these
class reference vectors. Network-only Bayes classi-
fier (no-bayes) counts the class labels of node’s each
neighbors. Then, this value is multiplied with prior
class distributions. Estimation needs product of each
neighbors observed class value probabilities condi-
tioned on given nodes class values and getting pow-
ered with edges weights. Network-only link-based re-
lational classifier (nolb-lr-distrib) firstly creates nor-
malized feature vector of the training node via aggre-
gating its neighbor’s class attributes. Then, it uses lo-
gistic regression for relational modeling.
The main goal of collective inference algorithms
is to infer the unknown class labels of nodes by max-
imizing the marginal probability distribution which is
represented by learned objective functions from rela-
tional classifiers. In Null inference setting, the local
classifier is applied, and then the relational classifier
is applied only once. Iterative classification classi-
fies the node’s unknown class labels by updating cur-
rent state of the graph in each iteration until every
node’s label is stabilized or maximum iteration count
is reached. Relaxation labeling uses direct class esti-
mations from learned models rather than constant la-
beling (e.g. as null). By this way, it does not miss
Detecting User Emotions in Twitter through Collective Classification
the previously estimated probabilities in each step of
the inference. Instead of updating the graph’s state in-
stantly, it stands, holds the estimations from previous
iteration then use these values on the next iteration.
As a result, inference is carried out simultaneously.
This section presents the method proposed in this
study. Our main objective is to collectively classify
users’ emotions reflected in the social network post-
ings with the help of their relationship information.
As the basic difference, by the proposed relational
classifier, textual content features in the postings are
also taken into consideration.
Within this study, we used the dataset that we
gathered from Twitter. As the next step, tweets are
preprocessed in order to construct feature vectors. Fi-
nally, collective classification algorithms are applied
on our data set.
4.1 Data Gathering
Similar to the work in (Mohammad, 2012), for gath-
ering our emotion data labeled instances, different
emotion related hashtags are queried by using Twit-
ter API. These are Turkish keywords corresponding
to six emotions such that ¨ofke” (“anger”), “korku
(“fear”), “mutluluk” (“joy”), ¨uz¨unt¨u” (“sadness”),
“i˘grenme” (“disgust”), “s¸as¸kınlık” (“surprise”). If the
word does not return enough number of results, its
derived versions are employed. As a result, 1200 la-
beled retweets are collected for each emotion cate-
gory. Then, all of six categories retweets are merged
together to obtain 7200 instances in total.
However, since our approach is user-centric, du-
plicate usernames are eliminated from the whole data.
Finally, there are 6841 instances (unique usernames
are regarded as key field) having username, (Re)
Tweet and Label information. Class distributions can
be seen in Table 1.
Additionally, our collected emotion dataset’s text
features are needed to have detailed pre-processing
Table 1: Dataset Class Label Distribution due to Instance
Class Labels Instance Counts
anger 1118
disgust 1140
fear 1145
joy 1191
sadness 1121
surprise 1126
for the latter feature vector construction steps. Several
preprocessing steps are applied on the textual con-
tent such as cleaning noise and removing hashtag and
4.2 Feature Vector Construction and
Feature Selection
After preprocessing steps, textual content of each
posting is represented as a feature vector, where each
one is a word extracted from the tweets. Stemming
on the tokens is performed by using Zemberek (Akın
and Akın, 2007), which is a Turkish morphological
analysis tool.
Each individual token is also inspected for lan-
guage and spell checking. Tokens that are not in Turk-
ish are removed. In addition, for the misspellings, first
corrected suggestion of Zemberek is used.
After stop-word removal, all reliable tokens are
added into a common pool (bag of words). Elimina-
tion of the stop-words is performed by using a Turkish
stopwords list
, retrieved from a publicly accessible
project. This final token pool (dictionary) constitutes
the feature space for the data. On the total, the pool
contains 1862 features. Features are weighted by their
term counts directly.
In order to select significant features, information
gain method (Kent, 1983) on Weka (Hall et al., 2009)
is applied and the large feature space is reduced into
800 features (the number of best features is obtained
as 800 as it is shown to provide the best accuracy in
(Demirci, 2014)). Finally, the constructed dataset is
named as EmoDS. A sample from EmoDS including
4 instances is shown in Table 2.
4.3 Proposed Relational Classifier for
Collective Classification
In this section, we present our motivation for propos-
ing a new relational classifier and the details of the
proposed method.
McDowell and Aha (McDowell and Aha, 2013)
investigate the neighboring attributes’ contribution
while building relational models and estimating the
label with collective inferencing on partially labeled
networks. They propose a probabilistic relational
model for bringing neighbor attributes and labels to-
gether. Results show that using both neighbor at-
tributes and labels on building relational model, often
produces the best accuracy.
However, this study is tested under some small
sparsely-labeled networked datasets. Considering
KDIR 2016 - 8th International Conference on Knowledge Discovery and Information Retrieval
Table 2: Short View of EmoDS.
Usernames Feature Vector Values Labels
@gioselyn 4 < 1, 1, 1, 1, 1, 0, 0, 1, 1, ... > sadness
@Ersiyn < 0, 0, 0, 1, 0, 0, 1, 1, 0, ... > surprise
@Mukremin1973 < 0, 0, 0, 0, 1, 0, 0, 2, 0, ... > fear
@Feneristcom < 0, 0, 0, 0, 0, 0, 0, 1, 0, ... > joy
that the approach has potential to improve accuracy
for emotion detection in fully-labeled social networks
and inspired by this idea, Netkit’s network only bayes
relational classifier (nobayes) is extended by adding
neighbor features information into process and imple-
mented in Netkit environment.
The proposed algorithm starts with a simple prob-
abilistic assumption that each neighbor’s features are
conditionally independent. Since attributes are rep-
resented as feature vectors, cosine similarities be-
tween a node and each of its neighbors are computed
for prior probability calculations, rather than simply
counting the neighbors. Then, these scores are used
in the objective function given in Equation 1 as a new
|c) =
= c
= c)
i, j
= c)
i, j
In Equation 1, let c be the estimated class label
value for node i, c
is the class label observed at
neighbor node j and simscore
is the cosine similar-
ity score observed at node j. weight
i, j
represents the
edge weight between node i and node j (simply equal
to 1 for this study). N
is the immediate neighbors of
node i and Z is standard normalizationvariable, which
smooths the summed values on the range 0 and 1.
Relational classification based on Equation 1 is
called as Network-Only Bayes-VectorSimilarity clas-
sifier, no-bayes-vecsim for short. Pseudo-code no-
bayes-vecsim relational classifier is shown on Algo-
rithm 1. In the algorithm, T denotes the training set
of labeled users and U is the set of unknown labeled
users. The proposed algorithm expands no-bayes re-
lational classifier with adding neighbor features in-
formation into process based on a simple probabilis-
tic assumption that each neighbor’s features are con-
ditionally independent. The cosine similarity values
between a node and its neighbors are computed for
prior probability calculations. Hence, while estimat-
ing the proposed objective function with collective
inferencing method, neighbor’s features also become
valuable. On the other hand, if neighbor feature vec-
tors are disparate with unknown labeled user’s feature
vector, it is expected not to contribute much to label
Algorithm 1: Pseudo-code of Proposed Nobayes-Vecsim
Relational Classifier.
function InduceRelationalModel
for all v
T do
// find P(c)
prior prob vec v
s class value counts
for all v
// find P(c
= c
= c)
, j
nbor prob vec v
s class value counts
powered with edge weights
// find P(simscore
= c)
, j
nbor prob vec v
s cosine simi-
larity scores powered with edge weights
end for
end for
Normalize each vector
end function
function ApplyEstimation
// for the inference phase, estimate Equation 1
prob vec := {}
for all v
U do
prob vec c prior prob vec
for all v
prob vec = c nbor prob vec
simscore nbor prob vec
end for
end for
prob vec known prob vec
return estimation
prob vec as v
s class estima-
end function
Another version of this relational classifier is
named as nobayes-avgsim. It takes into account the
case that a user can have different number of retweets
under different emotion classes. However, Netkit’s
configuration does not support using the same user-
name (seen as key attribute) under different classes.
For this reason, a different implementation strat-
egy is employed as follows: cosine similarities be-
tween each neighbor user’s feature vectors are calcu-
lated and the average is taken at the end. Then, av-
eraged similarity score for each node is fed into rela-
tional classifier’s objective function externally.
By this way, not only class labels of their friends
but also their text-based attributes are taken into con-
Detecting User Emotions in Twitter through Collective Classification
Table 3: Collective Classification with No Relationships Accuracy Results (aggr. -All).
wvrn prn cdrn-
no-bayes no-bayes-
Null Inference 0.165 0.173 0.174 0.174 0.174 0.174
Iterative Classi-
0.171 0.170 0.174 0.174 0.174 0.174
0.165 0.170 0.174 0.174 0.174 0.174
Table 4: Collective Classification with No Relationships Running Time (sec) Results (aggr. -All).
wvrn prn cdrn-
no-bayes no-bayes-
Null Inference 2 1 14 2 1 46
Iterative Classi-
3 17 15 1 1 47
1 3 162 1 1 125
In this section, conducted experimental analysis and
the obtained results are presented. In order to con-
struct a network for EmoDS, by following the interac-
tion means that are described in (Kivran-Swaine and
Naaman, 2011), a set of realistic friendship relations
are extracted from retweets that contain RT flags and
@ mentions. Self-edges caused by self-retweets and
relations that are not unique (i.e. either one of the
related usernames are not located as an instance in
EmoDS) are discarded. As a result, 606 realistic rela-
tionships are generated.
Experiments are run on Netkit environment under
15 different collective classification configurations.
Each of these configuration’s components are as ex-
plained briefly in Section 3. Results are evaluated un-
der 10-fold cross validation.
We have compared the accuracy performance of
the proposed relational classifiers, nobayes-vecsim
and nobayes-avgsim with the previous collective
inference-relational classifier methods.
As described in Section 4.3, according to the
proposed relational classifier’s nature, the algorithm
checks the similarity of each user’s vector to each of
its neighbors’ feature vector and uses it as a new vari-
able in probability function calculation.
In the first set of experiments, we analyze the ef-
fect of No Relationship setting, in which the effect of
network is neglected, on nobayes-vecsim in compari-
son to other methods. In Table 3, accuracy results are
presented. In Table 4, time efficiency performance is
In the second set of experiments, we use All Re-
lationships setting to compare the performance of no-
bayes-vecsim. In Table 5, accuracy results are given,
whereas in Table 6, time efficiency performance is
given. In Table 7 and Table 8, performance of no-
bayes-avgsim is compared against other methods.
As seen in the results, proposed relational classi-
fier provides small performance gain (˜5%) in collec-
tive classification accuracies in comparison to those
classifiers that can execute in reasonable amount of
time. One possible reason for this limited increase in
accuracy is that generated sparse user friendship rela-
tions are yielded in different ranges among users such
that some users do not share the same emotions with
their friends, as opposite to homophily principle.
Proposed relational classifier (nobayes-vecsim)
leads to a small increase in collective classification ac-
curacy. However,it consumes considerable amount of
time. This situation is improved with nobayes-avgsim
relational classifier. In nobayes-avgsim, by calculat-
ing vector similarities before the classification, almost
the same accuracy results are obtained in less time.
In this study, user emotions in social networks are
aimed to be predicted in a collaborative setting. To
this aim, we have collected a data set from Twitter
and constructed a network through RT and mention
activities among users.
We propose a new relational classifier and a vari-
KDIR 2016 - 8th International Conference on Knowledge Discovery and Information Retrieval
Table 5: Collective Classification with All Relationships Accuracy Results (aggr. -All).
wvrn prn cdrn-
no-bayes no-bayes-
Null Inference 0.187 0.192 0.190 0.207 0.206 0.220
Iterative Classi-
0.187 0.195 0.189 0.207 0.211 0.223
0.192 0.186 0.190 0.208 0.208 0.220
Table 6: Collective Classification with All Relationships Running Time (sec) Results (aggr. -All).
wvrn prn cdrn-
no-bayes no-bayes-
Null Inference 2 2 14 2 11 498
Iterative Classi-
3 20 15 1 11 525
1 3 173 1 11 711
Table 7: Collective Classification with All Relationships Accuracy Results-2 (aggr. -All).
wvrn prn cdrn-
no-bayes no-bayes-
Null Inference 0.190 0.188 0.193 0.213 0.211 0.237
Iterative Classi-
0.194 0.195 0.190 0.217 0.210 0.231
0.195 0.189 0.195 0.214 0.208 0.235
Table 8: Collective Classification with All Relationships Running Time (sec) Results-2 (aggr. -All).
wvrn prn cdrn-
no-bayes no-bayes-
Null Inference 1 1 15 1 1 659
Iterative Classi-
3 20 16 1 1 580
1 2 181 1 1 880
ation of it. We have investigated the performance of
the proposed methods in comparison to five different
relational classifier setting with three different collec-
tive inference model within NetKit. The proposed
models’ accuracy values are close to the best accu-
racy obtained by the existing models. Furthermore,
the proposed models improve the execution time con-
It is possible to extend current study in several
directions. Edge weights are assumed to be equal
(with value 1) in the experimental setting. For the
networks that include weighted edges, different link
mining techniques can be considered such as edge se-
lection or handling heterogeneous links. Edge selec-
tion can propose techniques analogous to those used
in traditional feature selection. Proposed and existing
methods can be extended to handle time-dependent
emotional data that have changes in user emotions
along the time.
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