A couple of weeks ago, we looked into a recent study by Cambridge University on Facebook likes and just how revealing they are.
Long story short – they’re quite revealing. The researchers were able to accurately predict subjects’ activities and personality traits based on what they liked on Facebook, even when those likes weren’t specifically about the particular proclivities. For instance, a user didn’t have to like the page “I love being gay” in order for researchers to determine that the user was indeed gay. Around 80% of the time, they could rightly infer it based on other sorts of likes, for instance “Britney Spears” or the show “Desperate Housewives.”
The bottom line is that your likes tell a lot about you, and unless you go to great lengths to make your 100, 200, maybe even thousands of likes non-public, people are going to be able to make judgements about you.
Such the rub when you use a public social network. Deal with it or don’t, it’s up to you.
The Colbert Report looked into the topic of these revealing Facebook likes, and basically came to this conclusion:
“Facebook likes can reveal your personality traits, just as Friendster likes can reveal that you stopped using the internet in 2003.”
No, wait, that’s not a conclusion. That’s just a Friendster jab. Low hanging fruit there, Colbert.
“I don’t need some study to tell me who’s gay and who isn’t. That’s what scarves are for.”