Facebook Likes Can Label You A Homo

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With a title like “Private traits and attributes are predictable from digital records of human behavior,” you know it’s a research study of some kind. And it is. A new study by researchers at the University of Cambridge and published in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (or PNAS) reveals that 90% of the time, your sexuality can be determined by pages you “Like” on Facebook.

The study’s findings will likely not shock you:

We show that easily accessible digital records of behavior, Facebook Likes, can be used to automatically and accurately predict a range of highly sensitive personal attributes including: sexual orientation, ethnicity, religious and political views, personality traits, intelligence, happiness, use of addictive substances, parental sepa- ration, age, and gender. The analysis presented is based on a dataset of over 58,000 volunteers who provided their Facebook Likes, detailed demographic profiles, and the results of several psychomet- ric tests. The proposed model uses dimensionality reduction for preprocessing the Likes data, which are then entered into logistic/ linear regression to predict individual psychodemographic profiles from Likes. The model correctly discriminates between homosexual and heterosexual men in 88% of cases, African Americans and Caucasian Americans in 95% of cases, and between Democrat and Republican in 85% of cases. For the personality trait “Openness,” prediction accuracy is close to the test–retest accuracy of a standard personality test. We give examples of associations between attri- butes and Likes and discuss implications for online personalization and privacy.

They add:

Sexual orientation was easier to distinguish among males (88%) than females (75%), which may suggest a wider behavioral divide (as observed from online behavior) between hetero- and homosexual males.

I look at my own “Likes” on Facebook and, alas, you would know I am gay:

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What do your Facebook “Likes” say about you?

H/T Towleroad

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About DanNation
Writer, gay blogger, tech addict and news junkie, DanNation grew up in Maine and resides in San Francisco and Sacramento with husband Rich and canines Puki and Sydney. He is in Year 9 of writing his DanNation blog. Feel free to submit stories, story ideas, photos and other items you'd think would interest our readers! Email: dannationblog@gmail.com.