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Facebook Likes Can Tell If You Are Gay

March 12, 2013

Have you been wondering about your sexuality lately? Wondered if you are gay? Facebook to the rescue!!  Just ask to see how your “likes” stack up with others, and you will have certainty about your sexual orientation, straight from the geniuses who are data miners of social media:

Feeding people’s “likes” into an algorithm, information hidden in the lists of favorites predicted whether someone was white or African American with 95% accuracy, whether they were a gay male with 88% accuracy, and even identified participants as a Democrat or Republican with 85% accuracy.  The ‘likes’ list predicted gender with 93% accuracy and age could be reliably determined 75% of the time. The pattern of online liking predicted drug use with 65% accuracy and whether someone was likely to drink alcohol with 70% accuracy.

Of course, there might not be a perfect answer to these troubling questions, as being a heterosexual male was also highly correlated with waking up confused from naps, but then nothing is perfect:

But other connections were more puzzling and may require deeper analysis to understand fully — liking “curly fries” or “thunderstorms,” for example, was strongly linked with high intelligence while being a fan of the make-up store Sephora, liking the “I love being a mom” page or the Harley Davidsonbrand were linked with low intelligence.  Being a heterosexual male was oddly linked with liking “being confused after waking from naps.”

I have a friend who fits the profile of liking Sephora and “loves being a mom,” so perhaps I could point out to her that the estimation of her intelligence is lowered by these comments. Makes me laugh.

Of course, if you want to confuse the sexual identity issue, just pick something like waking up confused after naps, because that seems to cover most of us, and you might just find your gender and sexual orientation assigned to you.

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