Facebook Likes maybe more revealing than you think.
According to a new study, users’ Likes on Facebook are indicative of private personality traits including sexual orientation and even intelligence level.
Researchers from the University of Cambridge sampled the Likes of 58,000 Facebook users. From that sample size, the researchers said that they were able to determine user IQ levels, gender, sexual orientation, and political and religious beliefs. Their findings had an 80 percent accuracy rate.
The researchers used Likes on photos, status updates, and pages for popular figures. They used a model that reduced the number of random variables of that were being considered.
“This study demonstrates the degree to which relatively basic digital records of human behavior can be used to automatically and accurately estimate a wide range of personal attributes that people would typically assume to be private,” described the researchers about the study. “Likes represent a very generic class of digital records, similar to Web search queries, Web browsing histories, and credit card purchases,” researchers said. “In contrast to these other sources of information, Facebook Likes are unusual in that they are currently publicly available by default.”
While the research could be useful in improving various products and services, researchers said that it should be used with caution. There are numerous negative implications in using the study, especially if the user information is used without consent.