Secret mission of Facebook likes: what can they tell about you?

Secret mission of Facebook likes: what can they tell about you?A recent study led by the researchers of Cambridge University proved that likes put under posts or pages on Facebook may reveal a lot more than just our approval of the info given in the “liked” message. If taken on larger scale and thoroughly analyzed, Facebook likes may tell a lot about person’s religion, intellectual development, race, gender, political preferences, and even sexual ordination and alcohol or drug addiction.

Researchers analyzed profiles and likes distribution of 58,466 Facebook users and at the same time conducted investigation on their personalities through psychological tests and surveys. Based on this data, the researchers created a framework for predicting or rather defining personal traits of a user by looking at his or her “likes”. The accuracy of these framework predictions is truly impressive. For example, it help to distinguish between Caucasian and African-American (the system gives 95% accuracy), to establish gender, religion (that is, if a person is a Christian or a Muslim) and learn about political tastes of the subject.

Surprising results are also observed in regard to family problems of users, namely, if a user’s parents divorced or just split under age of 21 (although accuracy here is rather low, 60% only, it still is predictable). For example, people who experienced it, were likely to ‘like” statements about relationships which underline the importance of trust and loyalty (“If I’m with you then I’m with you”) or those remarking about pain and stress resulting from love.

It is worth noting that not only the researchers but everybody curious to look deeper into them will have such an opportunity. The service will be open to users at the website YouAreWhatYouLike.com, and everyone who logs in through the Facebook account will have an opportunity to undergo the test. It is instant, as the online engine does a quick search through all Facebook likes and establishes the basic traits of personality of the user – like openness, stability, perseverance and tolerance. For the purpose of privacy, in the course of work on the analyzing framework any personal data of the subjects was removed.

However the researchers warn that it is not reasonable to try and judge our friends by occasional likes they give. To get reliable results, all likes a person gives in various groups and publics should be taken into consideration. People whose profiles were used in the research had given anywhere from one to five hundred likes, and average score was about 170. Anyhow, even this strict scientific practice under supervision of professional does not guarantee the absolutely correct results.

19 June 2013
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