Study finds Facebook users' intimate secrets can be inferred from ‘likes’


By John Glenday, Reporter

March 12, 2013 | 2 min read

A study conducted into the online habits of Facebook users has found that many could unwittingly betray highly personal information about themselves, such as sexuality, political beliefs and drug use, simply by ‘liking’ groups and activities which tally with their own position.

Microsoft Research studied 58,000 US Facebook users and found that sensitive personal information about many could be accurately inferred from publically available data.

Simply by analysing a users ‘likes’ they were able to pin down individuals race, IQ, sexuality, substance use, personality or political views even if these attributes had been consciously hidden by the individual.

Report author Michal Kosinski, a Cambridge University analyst, said: “Everyone carries around their Facebook 'likes', their browsing history and their search history, trusting corporations that it will be used to predict their movies or music tastes. But if you ask about governments, I am not sure people would like them to predict things like religion or sexuality, especially in less peaceful or illiberal countries."

Facebook users personality traits – key likes:

High IQ

The Godfather

Lord of the Rings

The Daily Show

Low IQ

Harley Davidson

I Love Being A Mom

Tyler Perry

Emotional stability – neurotic


Dot Dot Curve

So So Happy

Emotional stability – calm and relaxed

Business administration


Getting Money

Homosexual males

Wicked the Musical

No H8 Campaign

Human Rights Campaign

Homosexual Females

Not Being Pregnant

The L Word

Sometimes I Just Lay In Bed and Think About Life


Industry insights

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