Researchers from the Cambridge University have revealed that by using publicly available Facebook Inc (NASDAQ:FB) Likes, accurate information can be gathered about users’ race, age, IQ, sexuality, personality, substance use and political views.
Over 58000, US.. Facebook Inc (NASDAQ:FB) users were included in this study, who volunteered their likes, demographic profiles and Psychometric testing results through the myPersonality application. The number of Facebook likes was fed in algorithm and were crossed checked with the information from the profiles and personality tests. Later statistical models were created capable of predicting personal details using Facebook Likes alone.
There was 88 percent accuracy in the Algorithms in predicting details like male sexual orientation, 95 percent accuracy for race and 80 percent accuracy for religion and political philosophy. The percentage of accuracy in personality types and emotional stability ranged between 62-75 percent.
There is a growing concern over the sensitive information which can be extracted through these social networks even when users prefer to keep certain information private. For instance less than 5 percent of users predicted to be gay, for example, were connected with explicitly gay groups.
“Commercial companies, governmental institutions, or even one’s Facebook Inc (NASDAQ:FB) friends could use software to infer attributes such as intelligence, sexual orientation, or political views that an individual may not have intended to share,” researchers concluded. “One can imagine situations in which such predictions, even if incorrect, could pose a threat to an individual’s well-being, freedom, or even life.”
Certain murky personal information like whether the parents of the user are separated before user attain the age of 21 were accurate by as much as 60 percent. These stats are enough from the point of view of advertisers, according to the researchers.
The researchers also conducted tests on the personality traits like intelligence, emotional stability, and openness; to their surprise, the information were precise. The openness trait was also accurately predicted by the Facebook likes. For instance the spectrum of those who dislike change to those who welcome it was accurately revealed.
Some Likes had a strong, but seemingly incompatible or random link with a personal attribute, such as Curly Fries with high IQ, or That Spider is More Scared than U Are with non-smokers.
Thore Graepel from Microsoft Research said that they are hoping Facebook Inc (NASDAQ:FB) users will think twice about their privacy.