Your Facebook ‘Likes’ Reveal Far More Than You Realize

Algorithmic analysis of what you have “liked” gives everything away—your IQ, personality traits, drug usage, and even whether your parents divorced during your childhood, the Washington Post reports:

A Cambridge University study published Monday shows off how the researchers were able to figure out personal traits of individuals based on what 58,000 Facebook users decided to “like” on sites around the Web.

The researchers found that they could, for example, correctly distinguish between gay and straight men on the site 88 percent of the time by analyzing the TV shows and movies they liked. Similarly, they could differentiate between drug users and non-drug users with about 65 percent accuracy based on their expressed public preferences. The study even included “like” predictors that could tell whether users’ parents had separated when they were young versus whether they had not.

Researcher [said] that they hope this raises users’ awareness about the kind of information they may not realize they’re sharing with a wider audience.

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  • http://twitter.com/TedHeistman Ted Heistman

    “Researcher [said] that they hope this raises users’ awareness about the
    kind of information they may not realize they’re sharing with a wider
    audience.” they always throw in lines like that at the end.

    As if retarded people are going to stop liking retarded shit.

  • http://twitter.com/TedHeistman Ted Heistman

    “Researcher [said] that they hope this raises users’ awareness about the
    kind of information they may not realize they’re sharing with a wider
    audience.” they always throw in lines like that at the end.

    As if retarded people are going to stop liking retarded shit.

  • Ittabena

    I don’t know about you but my awareness on this was quite high. I won’t go near the social networks. No para mi!!!!

  • emperorreagan

    I wish I could run the algorithm on my facebook and find out who I am.

  • chinagreenelvis

    Who would have thought that behavior could give insight into personality?

  • echar

    In some cases, the study said, this data could be beneficial to help improve marketing recommendations or in psychology research. But the study also raised concerns that it’s too easy to gather telling data about users without obtaining their permission.

    “One can imagine situations in which such predictions, even if incorrect, could pose a threat to an individual’s well-being, freedom or even life,”

    I have serious doubts that some organisations care much about that.

    • Joe Walsh

      they’ll just put a blurb in the EULA that no one reads any way and bam, instant permission!

    • Joe Walsh

      they’ll just put a blurb in the EULA that no one reads any way and bam, instant permission!

      • echar

        IS it google that made an effort to make their EULA easier to understand?

        • Joe Walsh

          I have no idea… you think I have the patience to read a EULA?

          • echar

            good point lol

  • BuzzCoastin

    the first time I got a message from my 80 year aunt on FB
    I knew FB had jumped the shark
    now I only use it only if I have to use it for people like my aunt

  • BuzzCoastin

    the first time I got a message from my 80 year aunt on FB
    I knew FB had jumped the shark
    now I only use it only if I have to use it for people like my aunt

  • http://dbakeca.com Dbakeca Italia

    true

  • http://joenolan.com/blog Joe Nolan

    We talked about this on Coincidence Control Network last week. Pretty fascinating how relatively little information can reveal so much. Thanks for another great post, Jacob.

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“No One Really Gets the Last Word on Who We Are.”

The conversation between Calypso_1 and Ted Heistman in the comments to this post reminded me of this video by Prof. Corey Anton:

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