Just a few Facebook likes can identify users’ sexual orientation or political and religious beliefs, a study has shown.
US researchers found that as few as three likes on the social network can be the difference between advertisers being able to identify users as gay or not for targeting purposes. This was the case even when users had deliberately withheld such information from Facebook.
They proposed that social networks introduce a “cloaking system” that allows users to prevent such inferences being drawn against their will, even when they are accurate.
The information that Facebook holds on its users has often revealed personal information that people might be uncomfortable with the social network knowing. This includes contact information shared by others, location data, and browsing history.
But the social network also characterises users based on what pages they have liked, a key indicator of their interests. Previous research has shown how Facebook likes can reveal our personalities, but this study shows that it only requires a few likes to be hidden to stop these portrayals.
Source: Lady Gaga