If you want to keep your secrets, don’t “like”

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A mere Facebook “like” can expose loads of information about people, including religious or political beliefs, gender, or even emotional stability.

Many people are fond of “liking” almost anything on the networking site, such as pages, photos, articles, status updates, brands, public figures, artists, politicians, memes, music and many more. But a simple click may actually provide an in-depth look at how we think and feel, according to research from the University of Cambridge.

“Facebook ‘likes’ have a meaning that we can use to understand the psychology behind what people do,” said David Stillwell, co-author of the research.

Apart from conducting personality tests and surveys, researchers at Cambridge examined Facebook profiles of 58,466 individuals and items that they “liked”. Utilising the gathered data, they were able to create a model that can foretell an individual’s personal information with startling accuracy.

The model has the highest accuracy in predicting the race of a person (95%), followed by sex, political leanings and religion.

The model also has 60 per cent accuracy in predicting whether an individual’s parents divorced before their 21st birthday. Interestingly, the study found out that these users tend to “like” posts about relationships.

“It gives us a poignant insight into the effects that parental breakup has on children even after they grow up,” noted Stillwell.

The researchers warned people not to judge a friend based on a single “like”, as the study looked at a far bigger picture.


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