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Facebook "likes" Reveal More Than You Would Think...

8 Aug 2017 3:18 PM | Kathy Doering (Administrator)


Facebook "likes" or any other form of social media acceptance is something most social media users aspire to. Just take a look at the celebrities you follow~ they get an enormous amounts of attention in social media. Many become addicted and have to announce a social media hiatus of sorts to "unwind" from the stresses of being social. 

Recently, I began to think of this from a different angle. What exactly is in a "like" and what does it say about the person who gave it?  Few people realize, I believe, that when they "like" something in social media on a friend's post or page that it is not necessarily private. It all depends on how the author decided to post - publicly or privately. 

A few years back there was a study done of this very subject wrapped around Facebook users who agreed to participate in the study.  Permission based Social Media Research- Who would have thought that existed, right? Read on...

Excerpt from:

Online records could expose intimate details

and personality traits of millions. 

Date: March 11, 2013

Source: University of Cambridge

Summary: Research shows that intimate personal attributes can be predicted with high levels of accuracy from "traces" left by seemingly innocuous digital behavior, in this case Facebook Likes -- raising important questions about personalized marketing and online privacy.

Credit: Graphic from mypersonality app, Cambridge Psychometrics Centre

Researchers at Cambridge's Psychometrics Centre, in collaboration with Microsoft Research Cambridge, analysed a dataset of over 58,000 US Facebook users, who volunteered their Likes, demographic profiles and psychometric testing results through the myPersonality application. Users opted in to provide data and gave consent to have profile information recorded for analysis.

Facebook Likes were fed into algorithms and corroborated with information from profiles and personality tests. Researchers created statistical models able to predict personal details using Facebook Likes alone.

Models proved 88% accurate for determining male sexuality, 95% accurate distinguishing African-American from Caucasian American and 85% accurate differentiating Republican from Democrat. Christians and Muslims were correctly classified in 82% of cases, and good prediction accuracy was achieved for relationship status and substance abuse -- between 65 and 73%.

But few users clicked Likes explicitly revealing these attributes. For example, less that 5% of gay users clicked obvious Likes such as Gay Marriage. Accurate predictions relied on 'inference' -- aggregating huge amounts of less informative but more popular Likes such as music and TV shows to produce incisive personal profiles.

Even seemingly opaque personal details such as whether users' parents separated before the user reached the age of 21 were accurate to 60%, enough to make the information "worthwhile for advertisers," suggest the researchers.

While they highlight the potential for personalised marketing to improve online services using predictive models, the researchers also warn of the threats posed to users' privacy.

Read entire article here....

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