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COLUMBUS, Miss. (WCBI) – It’s about the easiest thing you can do on Facebook. Hitting the like button takes a fraction of second, but could have suprisingly long term effects.
Don’t panic, but researchers from Cambridge University have developed a formula that can look at your “likes” and tell plenty about you.

It’s not 100 percent accurate, but it precise enough to be a little scary.

Facebook might be a little more fun, if it was just among friends.

Few things tear down a wall of privacy faster than hitting your “like” button.

Some very smart researchers have developed a formula that can predict, fairly accurately, things like your age, sexual orientation, political leanings, even if your parents split up when you were a kid.

This kind of science has been around for a while.

Mike Allen is Chief Executive Shopper for shoppingbargains.com.

He’s seen this sort of thing before. Mike says, ” I was in political science in the 90’s, and they were talking about, ‘ Well the Republicans like to get all the NRA lists and the Democrats like to get the Volvo list ‘, so that they could market to them, so this is just bringing it up 30 years later.”

And there is the rub.

What your share about yourself, even unknowingly, is valuable information.

Mike explains, ” Definitely companies are buying the data when they can get their hands on it, and I’m sure Facebook is happy to sell it.”

When boundaries are removed, entities have away of over stepping.

Mike cautions, ” It’s stuff people give away about themselves, and there can be a frightening aspect to it when you think about marketing or a Big Brother snooping kind of government which is a real thing in a lot countries.”

So what’s a hopelessly addicted Facebook user to do?

Mike leaves us with this, ” Spend some time on your privacy settings to tighten those down to the level you are comfortable with. Check your likes, what you liked in college 10 years ago may not be what you like now, and that can influence jobs and all kinds of things.”

Good information, because “like” it or not, somebody is probably watching.
If you really want to throw people off, you could hit the “thumbs up” on things that you really don’t like.

Just make sure your real friends are in on it, or there could be some awkward exchanges.

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