Monday, September 28, 2009

Outed by Facebook

People like to feel they have a certain amount of control over what personal information they choose to share online. You can opt out of publishing your phone number on a social network, and you can hide the sordid nature of your beastiality-themed romances by labeling your relationship status as "it's complicated". But some computer science students at MIT have shown that you might be revealing more about yourself than you think. They wrote a program which can analyze the sexual preferences and genders of a person's Facebook friends to determine the statistical probability that the person is gay. Some informal, non-scientific verification has convinced the students and their professor that the program works quite well, especially for predicting the gayocity of men. Though their results haven't been published, this would be an important addition to the growing body of research into what online social interactions reveal about people. Can we finally prove that anyone with a Second Life account is 76% more likely to be a furry? Maybe so. More details here.

Blog Archive