What do your Facebook 'likes' say about you? More than you can imagine. According to an article in the Guardian, a lot about a person is revealed simply by liking certain pages. From "sexual orientation, drug use and political beliefs," 58,000 Facebook users in the U.S. unwittingly revealed all kinds of sensitive data in a recent study.
Even if users didn't reveal things like race, IQ, sexuality, substance use, personality or political views, researchers were able to infer such information based on a user's preferred subjects. So even when you think you are keeping some cards to yourself, you're not.
"The important point is that, on one hand, it is good that people's behaviour is predictable because it means Facebook can suggest very good stories on your news feed," said Michal Kosinski, the lead Cambridge University analyst who teamed up with Microsoft Research for the study, which is published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS) journal.
"But what is shocking is that you can use the same data to predict your political views or your sexual orientation. This is something most people don't realize you can do."
So even though you might not mind Facebook marketers and their affiliates knowing your taste in music or movies, you may be more reluctant passing on your political or sexual leanings. Researchers have staggering accuracy of 88% when predicting things like homosexuality (e.g., liking "Wicked the Musical" is kind of a dead giveaway).
And now, with Facebook partnering with "four of the world's biggest data brokers," users can expect even more specific marketing, which can target even your location and shopping habits.
Just me or is this too Orwellian for comfort?
For fun, the Guardian rounded up some of the study's inferences based on 'likes':