You Are What You Like on Facebook [Weekly Facebook Tips]

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facebook logo 300x3002   You Are What You Like on Facebook [Weekly Facebook Tips]Did you ever wonder what your Facebook Likes reveal about you? A team of researchers from the UK figured it out for you. To demonstrate their results, they offer a free one click personality test based purely on your Facebook Likes. The results potentially reveal whether you’re neurotic, conservative, male or female, use drugs, or smoke. I tried it and boy does this seem accurate. I Like!

In a recent study published in the well respected journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America (PNAS), Kosinksi et al. show that “easily accessible digital records of behavior, Facebook Likes, can be used to automatically and accurately predict a range of highly sensitive personal attributes including: sexual orientation, ethnicity, religious and political views, personality traits, intelligence, happiness, use of addictive substances, parental separation, age, and gender.

The One Click Personality Test

To prove their point, two of the authors have set up the website YouAreWhatYouLike.com where anyone can test their personality, simply by signing in with Facebook. Results of The One Click Personality Test are solely based on your Facebook Likes. Below is my result, which I personally think is pretty accurate, but definitely not 100%.

Facebook Like Personality Test   You Are What You Like on Facebook [Weekly Facebook Tips]

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The predictions rely on data from over 58,000 volunteers, who shared their Facebook Likes, provided information for demographic profiles, and completed personality tests as part of the study. These data allowed the researchers to extract a list of most predictive Facebook pages. An individual’s Facebook Likes are compared against this list to draw conclusions on the subject’s personality. Most indicative Likes of my profile for example were for HostelBookers.com and Facebook Site Governance.

Indicative Facebook Likes   You Are What You Like on Facebook [Weekly Facebook Tips]

The researchers categorized predictive Likes for 18 different traits. For each extreme of the trait (e.g. high vs. low IQ or male vs. female gender), they use 10 indicative Facebook pages. For example if you Like Biology and Jennifer Lopez, you most likely have many friends; but if you like The Dark Knight and Minecraft, you most likely have few friends.

A full list of most predictive Likes is provided in a PDF document via PNAS.

Since this test is not based on actual answers to a standard personality test, but merely on random Facebook Likes, it is not nearly as accurate as a real test. However, it does come close. Interestingly, the prediction for the personality trait Openness is the most accurate and almost as good as that of a standard personality test.

Reflection

To be honest, in part my results reveal more how I would like to be perceived, rather than how I really am. And this raises some interesting questions.

Would you use the Like feature differently if you were aware that your Likes are visible to others? Of course! At least if you’re smart. In fact, I’m very careful with what I Like. Moreover, I have Liked very few pages because I don’t want my News Feed to be cluttered up and I don’t want to give Facebook more data than I absolutely have to. I think that my Like profile doesn’t reflect the real me.

On the other hand, the authors do caution that it doesn’t necessarily take no-brainer Likes to predict a character trait like your sexuality. In other words, it isn’t easy to influence the test and hide a specific trait. Either way, the data aren’t very reliable. However, they don’t come with such a disclaimer and a wrong result could actually hurt you more than a right one.

Finally, if you only Like what you think would be good to Like, do you gradually become more like the person you desire to be? Assuming you are what you eat, will you become more healthy if you only eat what is supposed to make you healthy? The answer to the latter is a definite Yes, but I’m not sure about the former. The question is, can you change your personality by pretending to be different, like you can lift your mood by faking a smile?

You Are What You Eat   You Are What You Like on Facebook [Weekly Facebook Tips]

Conclusion

The study is a reminder that habitual data collected online, including Facebook Likes, browsing histories, search queries, or online purchases, can reveal a lot about us. The researchers draw a positive conclusion and say that these data can be used to automatically customize and thus improve services, marketing, and product recommendations. However, they also caution that the data could easily be used without the user’s consent and without them noticing.

The authors write: “One can imagine situations in which such predictions, even if incorrect, could pose a threat to an individual’s well-being, freedom, or even life.” Indeed, it does become difficult to stay on top of your own digital data and a loss of trust in digital service is a possible consequence. Hence the authors conclude: “It is our hope, however, that the trust and goodwill among parties interacting in the digital environment can be maintained by providing users with transparency and control over their information, leading to an individually controlled balance between the promises and perils of the Digital Age.

The full paper covers only four pages and can be viewed directly on the PNAS website.

If you don’t want people snooping around your Likes, hide your personal information on Facebook, especially in the view of Facebook’s Graph Search. Also have a look at our (Very) Unofficial Facebook Privacy Guide.

What did your personality test reveal about you? Please share your insights in the comments!

Image credit: You Are What You Eat via Shutterstock

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37 Comments - Write a Comment

Reply

Linda Woodrow

Everybody I’ve known to do this test has got absolutely the same results. I wonder…?

Tina Sieber

As Arron says below, they only make a statement about very few characteristics and the statement is very general in nature. It’s not a refined personality test result by any means. However, it does show you what end of the spectrum you are tending towards.

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1hegame

That was a nice article :y:

Raised a question above, Yes, I always avoid to like some pages even if I want to like them :) :p

“if you only Like what you think would be good to Like, do you gradually become more like the person you desire to be?” How one can even think so? To like, that would be good to like. BTW The answer of this question is tangled. I think one has to do an experiment regarding it.

And here is my result – http://i.imgur.com/5spp84z.jpg Out of there 2 are false and 3 are true.

Tina Sieber

Well, I’m neither a psychologist, nor did I study behavior, so I could of course be wrong.

I guess if you are just hiding what you really Like without wanting to change what you Like, you won’t change. You will just deceive others…and yourself if you believe in test results based on your own fake input.

However, if you wish you didn’t Like something (certain brands or behaviors) and Like things you do Like or really want to Like, then there is a desire to change. In that case, I strongly believe that acting as if you had already changed will actually help you change. Fake it ’till you make it!

1hegame

You talked like a philosopher :-k

“You will just deceive others” But what if I want to like a bad thing which I know I should not like because it is Bad. And then I’m wrong (because I’m deceiving others) and right (because I know I should stay away from that Bad thing and better be a good person) at the same time. So I’m actually not wrong and I represent Truth.

Those are wrong who really like a bad thing and because of others, don’t show it. They’ll receive fake results.

In my case the ‘Calm and relaxed’ and ‘Well organized’ were totally wrong. And I know I lied to them. | Am I talked in another way?

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1hegame

Oops. Tina, your and mine are almost same. I think this will also happen to other people. I think most humans are same as most are good. There are many many features which all humans have in common. Seems like that website always predict on this basis.

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Arron Walker

That’s actually surprisingly accurate, I’d say mine got 4/5 spot on. Then again… what it tells you are just five, two option, quite broad generalisations. Perhaps we shouldn’t be surprised

Tina Sieber

Very true, it’s not a refined personality result and the result is extremely broad and general. It tells you what end of the spectrum you are closer to, nothing more.

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Gourav Kumar

omg !!! sounds great and most of it is true

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Sam Smith

Ha, this was interesting I spread it at work and it was fun comparing results there were some surprising discrepancies, Thanks for the 5mins of entertainment.

Tina Sieber

Very welcome, Sam!

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Scott M

I hate that this can be done with my info.

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Valerie French

mine was right on! couldn’t get any closer

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robert burrell

you can’t post this article on facebook:
Home » Facebook & Twitter »
You Are What You Like on Facebook [Weekly

Tina Sieber

What’s that?

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John B Lontz

Pretty accurate IMO. 4 out of 5.

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Guy McDowell

I think the statement of ‘5 minutes of fun’ is accurate for this app. But there is a lot of truth behind figuring people out based on what’s on the web.

On a deeper level, advertising agencies and retailers with a web presence are using our social media to tailor our shopping experiences, and even offer us things we don’t even need yet. There is some predictive marketing going on out there.

There’s a program on the CBC in Canada called Under the Influence. It’s available as a podcast too. The show talked about just this recently where a company, I think it was Amazon, could predict if someone might have a baby soon with a high degree of accuracy based on things about you on the web. Often to people who didn’t even know they were pregnant! Then they would promote baby items to you.

It’s a little scary to think about. But intriguing nonetheless.

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Andrew Rossaak

It seems to me the results are the same …..I got identical results to Tina. I don’t think it is accurate. At least it gave my missus a laugh!

Lisa Edwards

Yep – I also got the same exact results… I didn’t think they were very accurate but out of the 102 like they only used 37 for estimation. Not a very complete picture…

Tina Sieber

They used a specific set of sites as ‘answers’ in their test. Of that set you only happened to Like 37.

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Sal Ramirez

Overall I found it to be very accurate of myself and as other people that I’ve worked with and know see me as well. Although general in analysis its very interesting how close to the spectrum it identifies.

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Brent Wells

Interesting and fun way to catch a glimpse into our preferences. However, new cognitive research shows people are more defined by what they dislike and want to avoid than by what they like. The research found what defines us is not our affinity for the things we love, but our avoidance of the things, ideas or behaviors we dislike.

The fact is, although you can catch a glimpse of someone by what they “Like” on Facebook, to really gain insight into a person we would get better results if we captured what we “DisLike” on Facebook. Interesting twist on things.

How can this affect you? Your business strategies? Your sales strategies? Your personal relationship? See more about this research here: http://www.prweb.com/releases/ttiresearch/avoidance/prweb10542982.htm?utm_source=March+Insider+2&utm_campaign=March+Insider&utm_medium=email

Tina Sieber

Thank you for sharing that insight, Brent! That’s is incredibly interesting.

My gut reaction is that we shouldn’t encourage people to share what they dislike. Focusing on the negative can only bring misery, at least that’s how I feel. So I am very much against a ‘dislike’ button. What does that say about me? ;)

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null

strange, mine came out exactly like the above one….

Eric Lobdell

Mine too. Seems like quite a few people have the same results. Maybe it doesn’t work right. Almost makes me want to go like some opposite things just to see if I can make the analysis change.

Tina Sieber

If you look at the document I linked to, you’ll see that there are always two extremes, no nuances. So as I said above, it just tells you very broadly which end of the spectrum you’re closer to.

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Elbee Surprise

So, what does it say about you if 1) you refuse to have an FB account and 2) when you *did* have an FB account, you *never* clicked on the “like” button?

Tina Sieber

You’re most likely not a teenager and certainly not very fond of social networks. ;)

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Dave Hicks

Mine’s exactly the same too. Doesn’t bode well for this test.

Tina Sieber

Well, the test certainly isn’t a thorough personality test as it doesn’t reveal any nuances in your personality. However, it does indicate which end of the spectrum you’re closer to, e.g. male vs. female, liberal vs. conservative, relaxed vs. stressed. It’s kind of a prototype to demonstrate an idea; one that is very entertaining. And it does have potential to do a lot more!

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Stephanie Staker

Now I am afraid to “like” this article! ROFL Tina, you did a good job here but I had a problem with the link to “You Are What You Like”. It requested my permission and then nothing after that. Perhaps it is too busy? I’d love to see what it has to say about me but I can also live without it too. :) Thanks for the continued information on Facebook. Please let your readers know that Facebook also refuses to deal with the child pornography sites. I saw them with my own eyes and it is frightening that Facebook says it doesn’t violate their terms of service. What? Mark Zuckerberg needs to get a wake-up call on this.

Tina Sieber

It still works fine for me. There might have been a spike in traffic that slowed down the service. Please try again. If it still doesn’t work I recommend clearing your browser cache and cookies.

I do hope that Facebook will take care of those troublesome sites! There are quite a few from various different fields. I guess what helps is if people who find them offensive report them; again and again. Then Facebook is forced to look into the matter; again and again.

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Mateja Kalajian

Everything mine said was the complete opposite!

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Hisham Sliman

How can i know my results??

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Christine St Syr Griffin

I really enjoyed this article its fun and I get to learn how to make myself more secure on face, thanks Tina, christine

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Madhusudan

Its a cool test……

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