May 23, 2013
Value Privacy? Watch Your Likes
Posted on Mar 12, 2013
Research into 58,000 Facebook users in the U.S. shows that intimate information—including sexual orientation, drug use and political beliefs—can be accurately gleaned from a review of their “like” updates.
Michal Kosinski, one of the researchers behind the study, said certain information, such as sexuality and religious and political views, could threaten the safety of users if it fell into the wrong hands.
“Everyone carries around their Facebook ‘likes,’ their browsing history and their search history, trusting corporations that it will be used to predict their movies or music tastes,” he said. “But if you ask about governments, I am not sure people would like them to predict things like religion or sexuality, especially in less peaceful or illiberal countries.”
The findings come after Facebook announced a partnership with four of the world’s largest data brokers, companies that work to improve targeted advertising.
People with low IQs were found to “like” Harley-Davidson motorcycles, motherhood and Tyler Perry, while emotionally unstable users were said to have an interest in emo music, the band Dot Dot Curve and the “quirky” self-empowerment product line So So Happy.
—Posted by Alexander Reed Kelly.
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