| Tuesday July 29th 2014

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MIT’s Project “Gaydar”


They just check to see if you are a fan of Project Runway and a fan of Twilight, if yes (and not 14 year old girl) = gay.

Using data from the social network Facebook, they made a striking discovery: just by looking at a person’s online friends, they could predict whether the person was gay. gaydarThey did this with a software program that looked at the gender and sexuality of a person’s friends and, using statistical analysis, made a prediction. The two students had no way of checking all of their predictions, but based on their own knowledge outside the Facebook world, their computer program appeared quite accurate for men, they said. People may be effectively “outing” themselves just by the virtual company they keep.

“Even if you don’t affirmatively post revealing information, simply publishing your friends’ list may reveal sensitive information about you, or it may lead people to make assumptions about you that are incorrect,” said Kevin Bankston, senior staff attorney for the Electronic Frontier Foundation, a nonprofit digital rights organization in San Francisco. “Certainly if most or many of your friends are of a particular religious or political or sexual category, others may conclude you are part of the same category – even if you haven’t said so yourself.”

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