Jennifer Golbeck: The Curly Fry Conundrum

Why social media “likes” say more than you might think

Jennifer Golbeck is the director of the Human-Computer Interaction Lab at the University of Maryland. Her lab predicts things like political preference, intelligence, age, just by using Facebook. One study was done just using people’s Facebook likes (looking at which pages they liked). A list of the top 5 likes indicative of high intelligence showed that one of those likes was actually for the “curly fries” page.  Why? Because the action of liking reflects back to the attributes of the other people who liked it. If someone intelligent created the page, than their friends who like the page are probably smart as well.

In the below TEDTalk presentation Golbeck explains how this science has evolved and how some applications of the technology are not so benign — and why she thinks we should return the control of information to its rightful owners.