How your Facebook 'likes' could reveal more about your personality than you think

The new app can predict your political leanings, emotional state and intelligence - just by what you've liked and posted

Mollie Goodfellow
Wednesday 02 September 2015 07:43
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A view of an Apple iPad and iPhone displaying the Facebook app's splash screen 10 May 2012 in Washington, DC
A view of an Apple iPad and iPhone displaying the Facebook app's splash screen 10 May 2012 in Washington, DC

Your Facebook profile can reveal further details about your life - ranging from personality traits to parents’ marital status - according to a new tool developed by academics.

Michal Kosinski, a professor at Stanford’s Graduate School of Business, says what you 'like' on the social network will reveal more about your personality than you may think, after creating a computer program with the University of Cambridge to analyse online profiles.

He says that, based on Facebook 'likes', it is easy to predict whether someone’s parents are divorced or not.

“I couldn't believe that what you like on Facebook could be affected by your parents' divorce, which could have happened many years earlier – we're talking here about people who might be 30 or 40 years old," he said.

Using a prediction API (Application Program Interface) called Apply Magic Sauce, analysts scour your FB likes and statuses to discover specific personality traits.

Once you have signed up your account, it breaks down different aspects of your life including your gender and whether you’re single.

It can also predict whether you’re competitive or extroverted, and how satisfied you are with your life - before telling you how common those traits are among the population.

This says I'm intelligent so it must work

However, it won't work for everyone. Those with an "insufficient number of 'likes'" which match those in the researchers' database receive a message informing them they are unable to generate a prediction.

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