Category:  Social Media

Is Facebook Using Us?

In North America, nearly half the population uses Facebook. But is Facebook using us? Facebook, Twitter, Google, LinkedIn, cell phones, GPS, Foursquare, Yelp, Travel Advisor, EZ-Pass, security cameras, Wikipedia, credit scores, and credit cards all create electronic tattoos of users. Massive amounts of information about individuals are stored online and are accessible to almost anyone.

 Social media not only gives companies access to your demographics, but also to your preferences. Companies like Target have access to customers’ purchase histories. They can use this information to determine things such as whether a customer is pregnant and her due date, so it can tailor store offers to her needs.

Things less obvious can be determined from a person’s Facebook likes as well. For example, liking Curly Fries on Facebook is one of the biggest indicators of intelligence. The theory behind this is “you are who you surround yourself with,” so if an intelligent person likes something on Facebook it is likely that their smart friends will also like it.

Scientists can also infer political preference, personality score, gender, sexual orientation, religion, age, how much a person trusts the people they know, how strong their relationships are, how well they work in teams, and if they use drugs from other seemingly unrelated content like curly fries.

Companies are not the only people who can exploit the privacy of social media users. Facial recognition software on Facebook is 84-94% accurate. A person could take a picture of any stranger and potentially find access to a plethora of their personal information without even speaking a word to them.

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