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Facebook ‘likes’ can reveal users’ politics, sexual orientation, IQ

Researchers predict personal traits using data from social media site

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3:19pm, March 11, 2013

You might predict that most fans of the satirical, Fox News–mocking show “The Colbert Report,” are Democrats. But it turns out that liking rapper Nicki Minaj and enjoying cuddling also hint at leftward political leanings. A new study finds that the things someone “likes” on Facebook can predict personal attributes such as political leaning, age, gender and sexual orientation.

The study harnessed data from 58,000 volunteers who used an app on Facebook called myPersonality, which study coauthor David Stillwell of the University of Cambridge in England created several years ago. Via the app, participants shared private information including the results of IQ tests and personality questionnaires that asked questions such as whether their parents were married and whether they smoked or drank alcohol. The researchers compared those data with the pages participants had “liked” on Facebook. After learning from a subset of the data which &ld

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