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:
Lord of the Rings
The Daily Show
I Love Being A Mom
Emotional stability – neurotic
Dot Dot Curve
So So Happy
Emotional stability – calm and relaxed
Wicked the Musical
No H8 Campaign
Human Rights Campaign
Not Being Pregnant
The L Word
Sometimes I Just Lay In Bed and Think About Life