Mindreader: Facebook of revelations

2019-03-01 02:03:06

By Jim Giles Editorial: “Are we selling our souls to social networks?“ I’M A Facebook curmudgeon. The world’s most popular social network is all about sharing, but my profile doesn’t give much away. The interests field is blank. Ditto for educational history. I have listed neither the sports teams I support nor the political views I hold. My reticence isn’t confined to Facebook – I don’t reveal much on Twitter, either. I recently deleted my account for location-sharing service Foursquare. I doubt anyone wants to view my Flickr photos, but they are password protected anyway. And I’m not alone: more than half of people who use social networks try to control the information others see about them, by not filling it in or by adjusting their privacy settings, according to one recent Pew Research survey. Here’s the thing about our antisocial behaviour: it might not matter. Even the little information I post online could be enough for someone to guess where I live. In fact, my sexual orientation, mood and personality type can all be worked out from snippets of online data. Throw in some cellphone records and algorithms have enough information to predict where I will go tomorrow and who I will be with. The data can even be used to gauge whether my lack of sociability is run-of-the-mill grumpiness, or a sign of impending depression. Though many people might find this loss of privacy disturbing,