What you ‘like’ on Facebook can be revealing

LONDON (AP) — Clicking
those friendly blue “like” buttons strewn across the Web may be doing
more than marking you as a fan of Coca-Cola or Lady Gaga.

It could out you as gay.

It might reveal how you vote.

It might even suggest that you're an unmarried introvert with a high IQ and a weakness for nicotine.

That's
the conclusion of a study published Monday in Proceedings of the
National Academy of Sciences. Researchers reported analyzing the likes
of more than 58,000 American Facebook users to make guesses about their
personalities and behavior, and even whether they drank, smoked, or did
drugs.

Cambridge University researcher David Stillwell, one of the study's authors, said the results may come as a surprise.

“Your likes may be saying more about you than you realize,” he said.

      Facebook
launched its like button in 2009, and the small thumbs-up symbol has
since become ubiquitous on the social network and common across the rest
of the Web as well. Facebook said last year that roughly 2.7 billion
new likes pour out onto the Internet every day – endorsing everything
from pop stars to soda pop.

     That means an ever-expanding pool of data
available to marketers, managers, and just about anyone else interested
in users' inner lives, especially those who aren't careful about their
privacy settings.

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