New research reveals Facebook users passively leak personal information

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A new study reveals that Facebook users disclose private information and intimate secrets unconsciously with their public ‘like’ updates, The Guardian reports.

Facebook ‘likes’ on people’s status could reveal personal information that creates digital records of users’ online behaviors, according to the University of Cambridge

The research on over 58,000 voluntary U.S. Facebook users was collected by researchers of the Psychometric Centre at University of Cambridge and Microsoft Research. Mr Michal Kosinski, Operations Director of the center, said similar inferences with high level of accuracy could be drawn from all manners of digital data and social media. 

For example, the prediction over whether male users were homosexual had an accuracy rate of as high as 88 percent. What is more shocking, 95 percent of the estimations were accurate in distinguishing African-Americans from Caucasians, according to the university.

Thus, companies could mine data for personality traits to help favor certain job applicants and reject others, The Telegraph quoted Mr. Kosinski.

The categories of personal information are by no means limited to sexual orientation and race. The studyresults indicate that Facebook users’ private social identification information, such as age, IQ, political views, emotional stability, could be inferred, as well.

The study is believed to raise heated debate, yet again, about personalized marketing and targeted advertising in the digital age, as well as raise concerns about online privacy and information safety, according to The Guardian.

Facebook announced late last month that it would expand its custom audiences tool to  improve marketers’ ability to reach a wider range of targeted customers. The extension to work with third-party partners would lead to a more personalized and relevant advertising experience for Facebook users.  In spite of Facebook’s repeated efforts to assure users of its online privacy policy, concern among Facebook users runs high about online security and their private information.


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