How did Target know a 15-year-old girl was pregnant before her parents did? What’s the correlation between curly fries and intelligence? Can your online likes and dislikes be used to decide whether you get hired for a job?
Those were some of the question I posted on my America Weekend show to Jennifer Golbeck of the University of Maryland and author of “Analyzing The Social Web.” She explained that every time you click “like” on Facebook, or express your personal preferences via other social media, or buy something in a retail outlet, you’re revealing something about realizing it. When culled and collated, all that data gives the world an astounding picture of who you are. It allows computer scientists to predict more about you, and you have very little control over how your data is used.
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I first saw Golbeck discussing this topic in an intriguing TED Talk.