Facebook ‘Likes’ Can Be Used to Correctly Predict if You’re Gay 88 Percent of the Time: Study


A new study by researchers at the University of Cambridge and published in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (or PNAS) reveals that sexual orientation can be predicted almost 90 percent of the time just by simply looking at what a user 'Likes' on Facebook.

Write the researchers:

We show that easily accessible digital records of behavior, Facebook
Likes, can be used to automatically and accurately predict a range
of highly sensitive personal attributes including: sexual orientation, ethnicity, religious and political views, personality traits,
intelligence, happiness, use of addictive substances, parental sepa-
ration, age, and gender. The analysis presented is based on a dataset
of over 58,000 volunteers who provided their Facebook Likes,
detailed demographic profiles, and the results of several psychomet-
ric tests. The proposed model uses dimensionality reduction for
preprocessing the Likes data, which are then entered into logistic/
linear regression to predict individual psychodemographic profiles
from Likes. The model correctly discriminates between homosexual
and heterosexual men in 88% of cases, African Americans and
Caucasian Americans in 95% of cases, and between Democrat and
Republican in 85% of cases. For the personality trait “Openness,”
prediction accuracy is close to the test–retest accuracy of a standard
personality test. We give examples of associations between attri-
butes and Likes and discuss implications for online personalization
and privacy.

They add:

Sexual orientation was easier to distinguish among males
(88%) than females (75%), which may suggest a wider behavioral
divide (as observed from online behavior) between hetero- and
homosexual males.

Read the full study HERE.