How often do you visit your Facebook profile, like different pages and your friends’ posts?
We all like mulling over how bad it is to spend much time online, how useless Facebook is for our self-development, how often we lose real friends because we replace them with virtual ones… But we still continue checking our news feed on Facebook, share interesting links, and post a couple of words concerning our mood, news, holidays and so on and so forth.
It’s time to pay much more attention to your Facebook profile, friends! Lately, it appeared to be too easy to compose your psychological portrait and find out everything about your surroundings even if you delete some information and “likes” from your Facebook page.
Any reasons to worry about your Facebook Likes?
Microsoft Research Center employees, together with University of Cambridge sociologists from the United Kingdom, examined how easy it’s possible to organize the data collection, even if they were not originally and explicitly specified by a user in his social network profile. It will be enough for you to mention some data at least once (in a comment for example). It means that even if you didn’t write the information about the university you studied at or the city you lived in, but you mentioned them in a comment on your friend’s photo for example, these data will be easy to reveal now.
Some quite unexpected correlations were found during this study. For example, those people who like French fries can boast with higher IQ. Well, as we know, scientists always do some researches like that, but does this one actually means that Facebook users have anything to worry about? What to do with your Facebook profile to hide it from such things?
Facebook is just a start
To make a long story short, this study raises the issue of concern related to personal information in social networks. Michael Kosinski, one of this project’s participants, told reporters that the technology used in Cambridge, can be easily replicated in real commercial products for the extraction of personal information about people.
Actually, the most common and simple methods were used for this experiment. And it means that marketing companies can go much further and use much more serious resources to get all our personal information needed.
Your Facebook “Like” says it all
When you “like” something on Facebook, it tells about your preferences, intelligence, political views much more than people think. Based on expressions of sympathy in some photos, stories, pictures or events, social scientists and marketers get their invaluable material for building and advertising political campaigns.
Researchers used Facebook data only, and they have studied 58 thousand accounts. Facebook itself does not comment on the results of the study.
According to scientists, the situation is the following: psychologists, anthropologists and sociologists can easily calculate the human intellect and his sexual orientation, identify psycho and other important personal characteristics if they see his Facebook profile only.
In addition, your “like” can tell them everything about your relationship with drugs.
Yes, we understand that all these data allow specialists to work on the audience and build effective advertising campaigns of course. But we shouldn’t also forget that this is our life, and every our Facebook “like” reveals the personal sides of our private lives, and it can lead to some manipulation and access to information, that is called hidden “between the lines.”
Are you ready for this? How do you feel when you know that your life in social network can lead to such consequences? Certainly, this study didn’t have a goal to make all of us forget about Facebook and all other social networks at once, but you must agree that its results appears to be quite controversial.
Personal data have become a major source of capital. Thus, the British company Wonga, dedicated to online loans, decides if you take a loan for a few seconds, and this decision is based on the vast information about the candidate, including his profile on Facebook.
By the way, your Facebook profile can be a perfect source of information for your boss too. We hope you understand that, and don’t write your friends about how bad, ugly and stupid he is. Moreover, your every “like” will tell your boss much more than you can tell him in an interview.
Anything to do?
Well, we don’t think you’ll stop using all social networks at once you’ve read this article. We won’t do that as well. The only thing to do is to pay attention to what you write on your profile and how you do that.
And if you wanna know what exactly your profile can tell psychologists about your character, scientists recommend you to take a look at your own portrait with the help of a special service. It’s called YouAreWhatYouLike, and its results are based on all your prior “likes”. They will tell everything about your openness, integrity and discipline, your temperament, competitiveness, and other personal characteristics.
Who knows, maybe you’ll find out something that you didn’t know about yourself.