Tuesday 12 March 2013

Your Facebook 'Likes' reveal more than what you think

Your Facebook 'Likes' reveal more than what you think
Remember my earlier blog in which I had asked if Facebook users were trusting too much.  If you thought that you liked your friends new hairstyle or your new phone, you did be surprised how much you like can really reveal.  A study by researchers at University of Cambridge has predicted the personality, sexual orientation, age, race, IQ, political views and many other things based on 'Likes' alone.  The researchers used a model of 58000 Facebook users to conduct the research.

Facebook users all over the world beware, you may not know it but you 'Like' may reveal more that you think.  It may not only reveal your buying or shopping habits but also many things you may not like to tell other.  The University of Cambridge has released a study of 58000 US based Facebook users and they accurately pinned down the many very very personal details of Facebook users.  The study was conducted from a period 2007 to 2012 and it revealed the age, race, IQ, sexuality, political views of the users studied.

The most astonishing fact was that the study was conducted only on basis of the 'Likes' listed by the users which included photos, your friends recent updated, products, sports, musicians, books, restaurants and websites.  The study further said that, "Likes represent a very generic class of digital records, similar to Web search queries, Web browsing histories, and credit card purchases,".  The participants, users of Facebook based in US had given researchers access to their Facebook page and their 'Likes' were fed into specific algorithms.  The researchers than created a model based on the statistics which predicted the very personal and private details.  The results were than corroborated with the information from the profile and the personality tests.  

Mr.Michal Kosinski, the lead researcher of the team said that "Each person, on average, liked 170 things, "Some liked only one thing and there were people who liked thousands of things. We removed those. We looked at people who liked between one and 700 different things."

Why the research was conducted is not known, but the varying degree with which the study was successful in pin pointing has alarmed many people.  The simple 'Like' you may have posted to get some discount or special offer from a product may actually tell people what you really are.  Facebook spokesman Fred Wolens has said that the  predictions are "hardly surprising."

The implications of the study may escape many of you who are Facebook users but it can gravely violate your privacy if such kind of information is sought and compiled by some unwanted and anti social group or person.

So next time you post a 'Like' beware.  The Facebook is already reeling under the loss of users in the teenage band for first time since its launch and any more news especially the disturbing kind can shake its credibility amongst the users who are hardly safe in the digital age.

Do post in your comments about this article and express your views.  You can also add me to your circle by clicking here

Vijay Prabhu

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  1. Thanks for sharing the idea there would be some apprehensions from segment but i am up for it.


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