About 3 billion times a day, Facebook users click a “like” button.
And a new study shows that all of our “likes” can reveal some very personal information about us - including our religious views, our relationship status and whether or not we smoke or use drugs!
For the study, researchers at the University of Cambridge gathered profiles of almost 60-thousand Facebook users. Then, they used computer software to make predictions about each profile, based on nothing more than the person’s “likes” – including seemingly harmless stuff like their favorite TV shows, movies, and books, or comments they’d “liked” about a friend’s cat.
Surprisingly, researchers found they could predict certain details about each person with up to 90 percent accuracy! For example, they found that people who clicked “like” on posts about curly fries and “Godfather” movies tended to have high IQs.
They also found that "likes" for Austin, Texas; "Big Momma" movies; and the statement "Relationships Should Be Between Two People Not the Whole Universe" were among a set of 10 choices that, combined, predicted drug use.
But "likes" for swimming, chocolate-chip cookie-dough ice cream and "Sliding On Floors with Your Socks On" were part of a pattern predicting that a person didn't use drugs.
Researchers also found patterns in our “likes” that can reveal our political views or even our odds of filing for divorce!
In other words, we are what we “like” online.
The good news? You can change your privacy settings, so that no one – not even researchers, advertisers or potential employers – can see what you “like” online.