Personal Growth

Here's What Your Facebook Likes Say About You

You're a Curiosity reader, so we know three things about you: you have access to the Internet, you love learning, and you're devastatingly attractive. As it turns out, there's a lot that you can find out about a person from what they do online — and the pages you like on Facebook are practically an autobiography if you know how to read them.

Smart People Like Curly Fries

Open up your Facebook profile, then go to the section that shows all of the pages that you've "liked" over the years. If you find "curly fries", "thunderstorms", or "The Colbert Report" on that page, then we have good news: according to a 2013 study, you are probably more intelligent than the average person. Why do smart people like curly fries? Well, they're obviously delicious, but chances are that doesn't have anything to do with anything — instead, this is probably one of those correlation-not-causation scenarios. There's nothing about curly fries that make them so irresistible to the big-brained among us; instead, the data says that people who like curly fries just happen to also be intelligent.

Your "likes" are public information. That means that anybody can take them and analyze them, and these days, that also means they can paint a profile of you that is shockingly accurate. The researchers behind this study found some correlations that seem to make sense and others that are real head-scratchers. Liking "No H8" and "Wicked: The Musical" are predictors of male homosexuality, while liking "Shaq" and "Being Confused After Waking Up From Naps" predict male heterosexuality. Huh, this whole time we thought everybody liked "Wicked" and got confused after waking up.

It's worth noting that this particular study is a few years old, and some of the specific correlations that it points out might no longer be accurate — we wouldn't be surprised to find out that "Curly Fries" got an influx of new likes after the study was originally published. Still, the principles remain the same: with the ability to analyze tremendous amounts of data at once, companies have access to incredibly specific information about you. Even information that you haven't shared anywhere else.

Unlocking Your Likes

Now, it's easy to see how an advertiser would be slavering over the kind of info that you can get from those likes. We're talking race, age, religion, political orientation, and even whether or not your parents are married. It can be kind of spooky thinking about people mining that data on you, especially if it's not just advertisers looking but also prospective employers and governmental agents.

We bet that right about now, you're wondering what your profile says about you. Well, wonder no more. The University of Cambridge researchers who ran the study in the first place have created an online tool that analyzes your likes for you. Sign in to Facebook, Twitter, or both, and the machine will tell you how liking The Field Museum makes you appear more religious and liking "Awkward Family Photos" makes you look like you're married.

How Powerful is Facebook?

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Written by Reuben Westmaas December 19, 2017

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