When you click a “like” button on Facebook, you could be telling the world whether you’re gay or straight, liberal or conservative, intelligent or not so much — even if you don’t intend to. That’s what researchers found when they ran tens of thousands of Facebook profiles and questionnaires through a computer algorithm to find the obvious asas not-so-obvious connections.
“The main message of the paper is that whether they like it or not, people do communicate their individual traits in their online behavior,” said lead author Michal Kosinski, operations director at the University of Cambridge’s Psychometrics Center.
Some of the correlations are pretty obvious: For example, If you’re a fan of the “I’m Proud to Be a Christian” Facebook page, it’s a pretty safe bet that you’re a Christian. But others are hard to explain: Why is it that liking the “Curly Fries” page is associated with having a high IQ? Why does the computer model put “Sometimes I Just Lay in Bed and Think About Life” in the category for homosexual females, while “Thinking of Something and Laughing Alone” is linked to heterosexual females?
“These little patterns are really not perceptible to humans,” Kosinski said. Sometimes, it takes a computer.