When you click the Facebook ‘like’ button, you’re just showing your approval, or support for an idea or brand, right? A new study says no. What you’re actually doing is giving up your privacy online.
CNN reports that a site called myPersonality conducted a study of Facebook user’s ‘likes’ and came up with some pretty interesting results. According to the study, the ‘likes’ you click on the popular social network can help Facebook, as well as anyone else who might be looking, find out if you’re a Republican or Democrat, gay or straight, Christian or Muslim, introverted or extroverted and a whole lot more. The unnerving study even claims to know if you’re the product of divorced parents.
With details like these floating around, one might wonder what else Facebook “knows” about you, or maybe more concerning is what it thinks it knows about you. This same study claims to be able to predict a person’s intelligence based on the brands they ‘like.’
Facebook users who clicked a ‘like’ for “The Daily Show” or “Morgan Freeman’s Voice” were considered intelligent, while having a penchant for Harley-Davidson motorcycles or Chevy Chase "Christmas Vacation" movies apparently lumps you in with a lower IQ crowd.
You may not think it matters what Facebook thinks of you. You may think that you don’t really care. However, if you consider that the advertising you’re stuck seeing while surfing the social network is tailored to you based on your ‘likes’, you may start to feel a bit offended if you’re consistently offered ads for something like continuing education or worse, gag gifts like whoopie cushions and fake vomit.
Now, has Facebook actually implied that you’re stupid through their advertising? Perhaps not. Or, perhaps not yet. The social network is just one of many sites that collects information about its users to be able to attract advertisers who will stay happy because Facebook users are clicking on their tailor-made ad experience. Just as other sites show you the last items you browsed or considered purchasing and offers up similar items to tempt you, Facebook takes your privacy and dissects it via ‘likes’ and other behaviors on the site.
To find out if Facebook thinks you’re stupid, or what exactly it does think it knows about you, visit YouAreWhatYouLike.com. If you don’t like what you see there, chances are, your Facebook ‘likes’ are painting a less than glamorous picture of you.
So, what can you do about your Facebook privacy? Well, in this case, not a whole lot. That is, if you want to use the site the way it’s designed to be used, being able to ‘like’ what you want. However, if you derive more joy from throwing the Facebook bloodhounds off your private information, you could always try ‘liking’ a combination of pages about scientific discoveries, the Nobel Peace Prize, marshmallow Peeps, stupid pet tricks, Olympic athletes, DIY duct tape repairs and Kim Kardashian.
If you’re lucky, Facebook won’t know if you’re worried about Cancer, you’ve started a worldwide petition, you’re pregnant, you’re thinking about auditioning your Komodo dragon for America’s Got Talent, you’ve got an abundance of non-working appliances in your front yard, you love sports or you’re just hungry.
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