Do we risk our own privacy with "likes"?

by Alexa Smith Banned
39 replies
Research published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Science shows that intimate personal attributes can be predicted with high levels of accuracy from "traces" left by Facebook Likes.

I think it raises questions about personalised marketing and online privacy?

More details, and source: Online records could expose intimate details and personality traits of millions
#likes #privacy #risk
  • Profile picture of the author classiqa
    yeah, I watched about this on BBC and this is something related to sentiment tracking. They can analyze the person traits from the likes on fb
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  • Profile picture of the author butters
    I always walk in front of Microsoft Cambridge and always wondered what they did in there, now I know. Thats actually quite fascinating, it makes sense tho, you like what you like so psychological analysis could always be preformed. In terms of privacy I wouldn't say we risk it but doing innocuous things like liking something can definitely reveal more then you think.

    Also a fascinating article about twitter to: http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases...0314085059.htm Lessons could be learnt from this article (Know your audience.)
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    • Profile picture of the author Istvan Horvath
      Originally Posted by butters View Post

      In terms of privacy I wouldn't say we risk it but [...]
      That's a bit of ignorant opinion. Any attempt of "personalized marketing" is an attempt to invade your privacy. And mine, of course

      And remember, they (yes, the proverbial, unknown, watching-us THEY) can and will use such data mainly for personalized marketing.

      Recently there was another very well-documented article about this topic:
      http://www.nytimes.com/2012/12/02/ma...pagewanted=all

      If you read it, you will see "we risk"...
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      • Profile picture of the author butters
        Originally Posted by Istvan Horvath View Post

        That's a bit of ignorant opinion. Any attempt of "personalized marketing" is an attempt to invade your privacy. And mine, of course

        And remember, they (yes, the proverbial, unknown, watching-us THEY) can and will use such data mainly for personalized marketing.

        Recently there was another very well-documented article about this topic:
        http://www.nytimes.com/2012/12/02/ma...pagewanted=all

        If you read it, you will see "we risk"...
        I just consider something I would classify as private is something different to yours consideration of privacy. For me, it isn't an invasion, to others it is, just my opinion .
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  • Profile picture of the author GuruGazette
    In a word: Absolutely.

    When I first saw that article yesterday my immediate response was "duh!" Then I realized that the general public is honestly clueless about this stuff.

    I routinely have lightbulbs come on about people based on what they have posted, shared or liked on fb.

    My rule of thumb for the last 15 years has been extreme caution. I'm very careful about what I say in email, on message boards and in any other medium that could involve someone other than me seeing what I said or did. I also stop and consider potential implications before even clicking a "like" button.

    Paranoid? Maybe. Part of "the more you know" conundrum I guess.
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  • Profile picture of the author hardraysnight
    i feel left out again

    i do not have facebook or twitter

    maybe i am too private
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    • Profile picture of the author RogueOne
      Originally Posted by hardraysnight View Post

      i do not have facebook or twitter

      maybe i am too private
      I use them simply as bookmarking sites for business related content.

      Never personal.

      Look at my FB I have zero friends, boo hoo!
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  • Profile picture of the author sbucciarel
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    It's why I don't ever use the like button on Facebook except on my children's photos. So they can glean that I "like" my children and that I'm a mother if they can draw that conclusion from my account, although they are connected to me as my children, but as Facebook friends.
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    • Profile picture of the author natf
      Sure we do, but frankly we risk our own privacy simply by being online.

      Most people have no idea of all the ways they're being tracked. Google has plenty of data on people even without tracking their likes.

      If it's something you wouldn't want the rest of the world to know, don't ever put it on the internet - even somewhere that appears private and secure.
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      • Profile picture of the author Alex Mensah
        Originally Posted by natf View Post

        Sure we do, but frankly we risk our own privacy simply by being online.

        Most people have no idea of all the ways they're being tracked. Google has plenty of data on people even without tracking their likes.

        If it's something you wouldn't want the rest of the world to know, don't ever put it on the internet - even somewhere that appears private and secure.
        nicely put Natf, the online world is becoming less and less private
        these days but I don't really let privacy issues bother me. Heck, half
        the things we rely on services like google for are only meant to track
        our marketing movements.
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  • Profile picture of the author salegurus
    Hey Alexa: Social Media Marketing Forum
    Facebook Forum ^^^^^^ :p
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    • Profile picture of the author Kay King
      I don't think we risk our privacy - I think we give it up.

      I've also noticed a proliferation in blogs and opinion sites that offer to let you log in through your Facebook acct rather than create an account to comment. The fine print when you do that - isn't so fine.
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    • Profile picture of the author Alexa Smith
      Banned
      Originally Posted by salegurus View Post

      Hey Alexa: Social Media Marketing Forum
      Facebook Forum ^^^^^^ :p
      Thanks - but I did actually ask the moderators, when I posted this, whether it should stay here, because I'd had difficulty deciding on its home, and found it unclear, myself. Social media was actually my own third choice, after here and off-topic. This potentially relates to a lot more than just Facebook, I think? :p

      And now, of course, there are loads of interesting replies just when I've run out of "thanks".
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      • Profile picture of the author RogueOne
        Originally Posted by Alexa Smith View Post

        And now, of course, there are loads of interesting replies just when I've run out of "thanks".
        We'll let you live...this time.
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  • Profile picture of the author mountain vision
    I did not realize fb was doing this. I don't hit the like button all the time, though it looks like it might be a good idea to do it less.
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  • Profile picture of the author onSubie
    You can see what your "Likes" reveal about you here. It is very cool.

    YouAreWhatYouLike
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    • Profile picture of the author sbucciarel
      Banned
      Originally Posted by onSubie View Post

      You can see what your "Likes" reveal about you here. It is very cool.

      YouAreWhatYouLike
      Guess I've managed to maintain my privacy well enough because I clicked on that and logged in and got a blank page. :p
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      • Profile picture of the author butters
        Originally Posted by sbucciarel View Post

        Guess I've managed to maintain my privacy well enough because I clicked on that and logged in and got a blank page. :p
        Maybe you don't exist
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        • Profile picture of the author sbucciarel
          Banned
          Originally Posted by butters View Post

          Maybe you don't exist
          My profile is set to private, so that might be a factor.
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          • Profile picture of the author butters
            Originally Posted by sbucciarel View Post

            My profile is set to private, so that might be a factor.
            I was hoping you was a spy (seriously that is probably the reason.)
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          • Profile picture of the author onSubie
            Originally Posted by sbucciarel View Post

            My profile is set to private, so that might be a factor.
            Yes, it only uses public information. I rarely "Like" anything but it was fairly accurate for me (except it said I was "Well, organized...")

            Maybe it attributes very few "Likes" to relaxed, anti-establishment, left-wing radicals, who are well organized...
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  • Profile picture of the author IMSince2003
    Originally Posted by Alexa Smith View Post

    Research published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Science shows that intimate personal attributes can be predicted with high levels of accuracy from "traces" left by Facebook Likes.

    I think it raises questions about personalised marketing and online privacy?

    More details, and source: Online records could expose intimate details and personality traits of millions
    Uh-Oh, I better go and change my name(on Facebook) then before I get a visit from Will Smith
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  • Profile picture of the author rapidcereb
    They probably track your traits with alot more than just your likes. They also use programs to watch what you write about, what you share, who you know, the pictures you take etc.
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  • Profile picture of the author RogueOne
    The fact of the matter is that there really is no "privacy" anymore. Not just online. When I go to the DMV they scan my license and know what vehicle I drive.

    When I recently received an auto insurance quote all I had to do was put in my name and zip code and up pops my vehicle.

    Unless you live under a rock and never venture out, then your info. is out there and it's all inter-connected and becoming a tighter and tighter loop every day.

    Mail order companies sent out surveys in the 19th century. The more you know about your customers/potential customers the more profit you will make. Of course companies who's sole purpose is to make money are going to collect, use and disseminate as much information as they can collect.

    I really don't see any way around it. It's the world we live in.

    I try to use it to my advantage as much as possible.

    Like my buddy Kevin used to always say,"It's a fixed game, but it's the only one in town."
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    • Profile picture of the author PeterKnight
      Originally Posted by RogueOne View Post

      The fact of the matter is that there really is no "privacy" anymore.
      People still care about privacy and have expectations of privacy in a lot of contexts. I get on a personal level that it's almost easy to have an 'oh, well' attitude, especially if it so far hasn't made a major negative impact. But on a widespread, societal level it's not a good thing that it's so easy to collect and aggregate data on individuals. That gives enormous power to people and companies who happen to have access.

      From a business opportunity perspective I think we're going to see more companies that will use the privacy/security/anonymity angle and do really well with because more and more people will become conscious of the issues. Kim's Mega a good example of a high profile business that is tapping into that right now. I think it's a growing market.
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      • Profile picture of the author RogueOne
        Originally Posted by PeterKnight View Post

        From a business opportunity perspective I think we're going to see more companies that will use the privacy/security/anonymity angle and do really well with because more and more people will become conscious of the issues.
        What are they going to do, create you a new identity? Right back to square one.

        Try to remove information that exists? Good luck with that.

        What are they going to do with the info. they collect.

        Walk up to wall. Bang head. Repeat.
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        • Profile picture of the author PeterKnight
          Originally Posted by RogueOne View Post

          What are they going to do, create you a new identity? Right back to square one.

          Try to remove information that exists? Good luck with that.

          What are they going to do with the info. they collect.

          Walk up to wall. Bang head. Repeat.
          I'm not sure what you are making of my comment. Of course you can't easily remove information that is already out there. The way you are referring to privacy, it never existed in the first place in society. Think about it.

          It's about having some control over the information that is out there and how many people can easily access that information. More people are going to value that, and this is why I think companies that fill that need will do well.

          The demand is there. No way a project like Diaspora would have gotten that much attention. Mega's going to do well in all likelihood. Plenty of people pick a product like Spideroak over cheaper alternatives like dropbox etc. The VPN market is booming. I'm seeing more pushback with cloud services too. So not everyone has that much of a casual or misguided attitude regarding privacy.

          If you find out someone is reading your emails - or your post - and you haven't granted permission to this person, would it matter to you? Most people would be outraged. You can be as pragmatic as you like about the ubiquity of technology and it's data hoarding nature, you probably are going to continue to care that your emails are private. More and more people are starting to raise those standards to how their data is used. That's good for companies looking to tap into those concerns, I'd say. So by all means continue banging that wall
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        • Profile picture of the author johndetlefs
          Originally Posted by RogueOne View Post

          What are they going to do, create you a new identity? Right back to square one.

          Try to remove information that exists? Good luck with that.

          What are they going to do with the info. they collect.

          Walk up to wall. Bang head. Repeat.
          If it were me I wouldn't bother trying to delete information, that's a dead game.

          I would, however, add disinformation to muddy the waters as much as possible.

          Hopefully too much random information throws out their algorithms.

          I just did that one click deal, and it said that I was shy, presumably because I liked Astroboy at some stage on my FB profile.. Except I didn't, it was my fiancee that liked it when she was on my profile.

          I'm sure if I added some puppy photos (I'm a much bigger cat fan) and maybe some chicago bulls pages (don't follow basketball at all, and even if I did I'd go for the Celtics), then my info would start to become useless to them from a targeting perspective.

          Hmmmm.. feels like a business opportunity as I think about it...

          Shy and retiring I 'aint!
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  • Profile picture of the author CDawson
    Banned
    We risk enough being connected to the internet, period.
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  • Profile picture of the author Kurt
    If anyone tracks my FB likes they'll discover I like puppies. Now I'm worried the whole world will find out!
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  • Profile picture of the author MikeTucker
    Surely I am not the only one who buys data from Acxiom, DMG, and ChoicePoint??

    It's not only the Internet, there is a whole Universe of data mining out there...
    What people "Like" online and how long they look at any given page, it's all
    just the tip of the iceberg.
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  • Profile picture of the author Matt Bard
    Yep, what John above said.
    ...add disinformation to muddy the waters as much as possible.
    It's an old military intel trick to give them too much info to wade through. Once in a while I like stuff I don't really like and share stuff that I delete soon after. I change pictures of myself like crazy and post a whole bunch of nonsense.

    After you build up enough garbage, the people that were interested in you, are no longer interested in you. They know that the data has been corrupted by too much garbage.

    The people and software that study the massive patterns will view you as unpredictable and stop counting you.

    You can go back to your real likes, shares, and postings after a period of garbage. Your friends that you communicate with regularly begin to see your true patterns and thoughts come through.

    I can tell when I have them confused because their ads in the sidebar start offering me a mixed bag of stuff that is not targeted correctly for me.

    It might be extreme for some, but I don't have to do as much hiding and worrying.

    Or maybe my method doesn't work with Facebook. (shrugs) Only time will tell and when I start seeing the black helicopters flying around my house it might be an indication that my evil plan didn't work lol

    p.s. yeah I know I basically said what John said but I haven't been here in a while and I felt like I wanted to be expressive :p
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  • Profile picture of the author HeySal
    As far as likes, I'm not really concerned. I'm a strongly opinionated wench and anyone who dares come near me will figure out my disposition soon enough. There is something that bothers me to no end though - and that's this type of "following":

    I was in the WF once in the OT (imagine that), and we were discussing authors. I mentioned my favorite author is Kurt Vonnegut (did you get that down, spy of whatever nature you are reading this). A few minutes later I went to facebook and there on my sidebar was an ad for books by...you guessed it, Kurt Vonnegut. It was the first time I had ever seen an ad for books on my FB page. I don't ever remember discussing any books on that page up to that time.

    I immediately went and got the Better Privacy pluggin for my FF and I run it every time I close down FB.

    As said by someone in a previous post - most people do not understand the extent to which our data is being recorded. Online, on phones, via credit and debit cards, you name it - simply put, we're being watched.
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  • Profile picture of the author glennshep
    As has been said already, I think you pretty much give up your privacy as soon as you start using the Internet. Having said that, how much privacy does any one of us really have these days, even if we don't use the Internet? For those of us in the UK even the likes of Tesco record what purchases we make every time they scan our Clubcard so that they can, among other things, send us vouchers and offers tailored to our buying habits
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  • Profile picture of the author retsced
    Every click of a mouse leaves a breadcrumb. We're being tracked with everything we do online, not just FB likes. Have any of you tried the Firefox addon that shows you all the third party websites that track your every movement online?

    Excerpt:
    Collusion is an experimental add-on for Firefox and allows you to see all the third parties that are tracking your movements across the Web. It will show, in real time, how that data creates a spider-web of interaction between companies and other trackers.

    You can test the demo for yourself here..
    Mozilla
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    • Profile picture of the author johndetlefs
      Originally Posted by retsced View Post

      You can test the demo for yourself here..
      Mozilla
      That demo is very cool... and a little bit scary.
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  • Profile picture of the author Tim3
    On the other hand... we can all mess up their careful, smart-ass research, by liking lots of things we don't really like
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    • Profile picture of the author Istvan Horvath
      Originally Posted by Tim3 View Post

      On the other hand... we can all mess up their careful, smart-ass research, by liking lots of things we don't really like
      And in that case only your personal friends that know you better would think you lost your mind
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      • Profile picture of the author Tim3
        Originally Posted by Istvan Horvath View Post

        And in that case only your personal friends that know you better would think you lost your mind

        Lol, Lot's of fun to be had there Istvan
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