Facebook Like Button Would Press Out More Information Than You Desire

Are you a ‘Liker’? I mean the particular brand of people who frequent Facebook and go about liking posts, images, pages etc., sometimes just for the fun of it. Well, sometimes, a click on the Like button might get you into something unexpected. Researchers at the University of Cambridge studied the content that people on the popular social networking site routinely advertise and have come up with some observations, which are in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.


More than 58,000 volunteers, who regularly use Facebook, took a psychological and intelligence test and was asked to share all their profile information and likes. Then, using some complex algorithms, they checked how the subjects’ likes correlated with their information got from their profiles, images, tests etc.

A similar application that would do the same process for Facebook likes was developed.The researchers found that many personal traits correlated, and that was not just things like your profile photos or ethnicity or other things that are obvious.

For example, when sexual orientation was taken into account, only 5% of the participants brought out by the algorithm were connected with those factors that are related to lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender community, such as “No H8 campaign,” which promotes “marriage, gender and human equality.” So, if a person liked “No H8 campaign”, it was pretty easy to predict.

Other endorsements such as liking American Idol star Adam Lambert, Mac Cosmetics, “Wicked, the Musical”; and Kurt Hummel and Sue Sylvester, may also correlate to being gay. For the female gender, liking “The L word” correlated to homosexuality, as did liking “Tegan and Sara.”

Similarly, if you like beer pong, Chris Tucker, “I Feel Better Tan” and cheerleading, you might be an extrovert, while liking RPGs, Anime, manga, video games and Voltaire might mean you are a shy person.

“All these likes are building up over time. Once you have hundreds of these, you can start making predictions,” Stillwell said. “If an employer saw it, what would they know about you?”

But all this is human behavior, and when it comes to human behavior, there are no precise points to take away. There have been many studies over the years that show how much you can tell about a person from their publicly shared information.

So the next time you hit the like button, think about what it would imply to others.

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