Researchers at Cambridge University say they can tell if you're gay or straight, black or white, Republican or Democrat just by analyzing your Facebook “likes.”
The study, published this week in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America looked at …
… the “likes” of 58,000 American Facebook users and found that it could predict these things with up to 95 percent accuracy.
Yep, depending on how public your profile is, researchers could probably predict if you're a perv, like redheads, are a drug user or just live life as a loser.
(Writer shudders to think what his “likes” would reveal).
According to a summary of the Cambridge research, which relied on a specially designed algorithm to analyze the “likes:”
Models proved 88% accurate for determining male sexuality, 95% accurate distinguishing African-American from Caucasian American and 85% accurate differentiating Republican from Democrat. Christians and Muslims were correctly classified in 82% of cases, and good prediction accuracy was achieved for relationship status and substance abuse – between 65 and 73%.
And, just to be clear, the gay men's “likes” weren't obviously gay, for example. Researchers could use key TV shows and music to come to their conclusions.
Of course, the amazing correlations between what you like on Facebook (researchers even found a link between affinity for curly fries and higher IQs) have vast implications for both marketing and privacy.
David Stillwell of Cambridge:
I have used Facebook since 2005, and I will continue to do so. But I might be more careful to use the privacy settings that Facebook provides.