Social Web

Like This Post On Facebook — It Might Reveal Something About You

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Anatoliy Babiy/iStockphoto
Facebook like
Anatoliy Babiy/iStockphoto

Those Facebook likes? they may be reveal more about you than you realize.

A study published Monday in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences says 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 separation, age, and gender."

Researchers from Cambridge University conducted the study of more than 58,000 U.S. Facebook users. Data about the users was obtained through a Facebook app called myPersonality, which is owned by one of the researchers, David Stillwell.

The study found that the best predictors of high intelligence include "Thunderstorms," The Colbert Report, "Science," and, yes, "Curly Fries." Low intelligence, it said, was indicated by "Sephora," "I Love Being A Mom," "Harley Davidson," and "Lady Antebellum."

Similarly, good predictors of male homosexuality included "No H8 Campaign," "Mac Cosmetics," and Wicked The Musical, whereas strong predictors of male heterosexuality included "Wu-Tang Clan," "Shaq," and "Being Confused After Waking Up From Naps."

"Although some of the Likes clearly relate to their predicted attribute, as in the case of No H8 Campaign and homosexuality, other pairs are more elusive; there is no obvious connection between Curly Fries and high intelligence," the paper said.

The researchers say the findings could be used to improve products and services such as online stores that could be designed to adjust their behavior to best fit each user's profile. Here's more from the paper:

"Automated assessment based on large sample of behavior may not only be more accurate and less prone to cheating and misrepresentation but also may permit assessment across time to detect trends. Moreover, inference based on observations of digitally recorded behavior may open new doors for research in human psychology."

Facebook launched its like button in 2009.

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