“The increasing amount of personal information that can been gleaned by computer programs that track how people use Facebook has been revealed by an extensive academic study. Such programs can discern undisclosed private information such as Facebook users’ sexuality, drug-use habits and even whether their parents separated when they were young, according to the study by Cambridge University academics.
In one of the biggest studies of its kind, scientists from the university’s psychometrics team and a Microsoft-funded research center analysed data from 58,000 Facebook users to predict traits and other information that were not provided in their profiles.
The algorithms were 88 percent accurate in predicting male sexual orientation, 95 percent for race and 80 percent for religion and political leanings. Personality types and emotional stability were also predicted with accuracy ranging from 62-75 percent.
Facebook declined to comment.
The study highlights growing concerns about social networks and how data trails can be mined for sensitive information, even when people attempt to keep information about themselves private. Less than 5 percent of users predicted to be gay, for example, were connected with explicitly gay groups…”Twitter