Business/Finance

Hey Facebook – can you tell me who my perfect match is?

PrivacyBig Data and Social Media: Americans can’t give their privacy away fast enough…

Big Data just keeps getting bigger and biggerer, and it seems like if you have enough data you can figure out damned near anything. Last year we had the case of Target telling a Minneapolis man his teenaged daughter was pregnant before she did. Now it seems like Facebook knows who you’re involved with whether you reveal it or not.

If anyone needs additional proof that Facebook knows way, way to much about its members, just consider the findings of a study by researchers at Cornell University and Facebook, who demonstrated that the social network can figure out who you’re dating — even if you don’t reveal that you’re in a relationship by making it “Facebook official.”

Interestingly the method used for the study, titled “Romantic Partnerships and the Dispersion of Social Ties: A Network Analysis of Relationship Status on Facebook,” relies on determining the degree of “dispersion” in an extended social network, meaning “the extent to which two people’s mutual friends are not themselves well-connected.” While most close relationships are likely to be embedded in a network of relationships of similar strength, according to the researchers romantic relationships differ in that a couple’s various mutual friends are much less likely to know each other independently of the couple.

Blah blah algorithm brainiac yadda yadda. The money shot is this: the amount of data that’s generally available about all of us who don’t live in caves is so great that we don’t have secrets anymore. Oh sure, you think you do, but you don’t. Corporations know who you’re dating, they know when you’re pregnant, and they probably know when you’re going to get boinked before you do. They also know about that underground Kazakh monkey porn you’ve been watching and even more humiliating, they know you read Huffington Post.

Meanwhile, Dr. Sammy keeps on carping about how bad he hates online dating. Bitch, please. Give it a couple years and Match.com will be out of business. You’ll just starting getting e-mails from a cooperative venture of Target, Facebook and NSA telling you who you’re going to be dating, rogering, impregnating and divorcing. And when. And by the way, newly divorced men tend to shop for new dishes and linens, so here’s some targeted advertising in your news feed.

Privacy? Fuck you, Gomer. You can’t hand over the details of your life fast enough if there’s convenience or a bright sparkly involved.

Big Brother is up in your bidniss, America. And it’s making your nipples hard just thinking about it.

2 replies »

  1. Part of why I tell my online dating clients to avoid using their regular email address is because it’s nice when there’s a little separation from their other identities. (That’s hardly comprehensive or foolproof, but it is slightly more effective at not getting fed into the Big Data System.)

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