Ever lay in bed and think about life? That’s because you’re probably homosexual. At least, that’s what a new study conducted at the University of Cambridge is saying about Facebook users who like that page.
The study, which was released to the public earlier in March through Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, aims to predict traits such as intelligence, religious views, political affiliations, sexual orientation and emotional stability by scrutinizing a user’s Facebook likes.
But rather than giving some sort of epiphany to users that were not aware of their own religious beliefs already, the study just seems to prompt users to carefully adjust their privacy settings.
The predictions hardly seem like predictions at all, with results revealing both obvious connections and questionable associations.
One example from the study links high intelligence to liking the page “curly fries.” While researchers acknowledged that there is no obvious connection, they spent more time highlighting how accurate their predictions were from the not-random sample of 58,466 volunteers.
But even these “accurate predictions” were hardly surprising. After all, it makes sense that the study would be able to correctly predict the gender of users liking “Proud to be a Mom.”
The study should stand as a red flag about online posting as opposed to being looked at as a personality test.
Companies, including Facebook, have began to use the snippets of information they find through user profiles in order to market their products.
Highlighting potentially private data from users that may have not explicitly posted something allows these companies to target consumers.
Facebook has continued to breach the trust of its users, refining its Terms of Service and changing its privacy settings without much warning.
Still, Facebook users are 43 percent more trusting compared to other Internet users, a study by the Pew Internet and American Life Project in 2011 found.
Users should use this study as a turning point to how they post online.
As Mark Zuckerberg said in 2010 regarding dismissive attitudes toward privacy, “They ‘trust me’…Dumb f***s.”