Facebook ‘likes’ can reveal more than just your favorite movies and music, study finds

By Daniel S Levine,

A new study has found that Facebook ‘likes’ tell a lot more about our personalities than any of us previously thought. It reveals much more than just our favorite music, movies or food.

According to The BBC, a Cambridge University study published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences journal looked at the likes of 58,000 Americans who volunteered. That information was then plugged into an algorithm that mostly predicted the correct attributes for each one.

The algorithm of likes correctly predicted the political affiliation of 85 percent of the volunteers and was 88 percent correct about male sexuality. It also correctly predicted whether or not 95 percent were African American or Caucasian.

The Los Angeles Times notes that there were some traits that the algorithm could predict, such as if your parents split before you turned 21 or drug use.

One of the more bizarre notes the researchers found was that higher I.Q.s could be predicted if you like curly fries on Facebook. They had no idea why, but it has helped Curly Fries go viral.

The researchers did say that the public availability of all this information can threaten our online privacy. They stressed that any user who doesn’t want the world to know what they 'like' to use Facebook’s privacy settings.

“I appreciate automated book recommendations, or Facebook selecting the most relevant stories for my newsfeed,” lead researcher Michael Kosinski commented. “However, I can imagine situations in which the same data and technology is used to predict political views or sexual orientation, posing threats to freedom or even life.”



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