Not on Facebook or Twitter? Your privacy is still at risk
Washington, Jan 22: A new study shows that how your privacy is at risk even if you don't have an account on Facebook and Twitter.
The new study from researchers at the University of Vermont and the University of Adelaide gathered more than thirty million public posts on Twitter from 13,905 users.
The new study also shows that if a person leaves a social media platform -- or never joined -- the online posts and words of their friends still provide about 95% of the "potential predictive accuracy," the scientists write, of a person's future activities -- even without any of that person's data.
The research raises profound questions about the fundamental nature of privacy -- and how, in a highly networked society, a person's choices and identity are embedded in that network. The study shows that, at least in theory, a company, government or other actor can accurately profile a person -- think political party, favourite products, religious commitments -- from their friends, even if they have never been on social media or delete their account.
People on these platforms reveal massive amounts of information about themselves -- and their friends, they said.
However, scientists have not known if there is a fundamental limit to how much predictability is contained within this tidal wave of data.
The scientists used their analysis of Twitter writings to show that there is a mathematical upper limit on how much predictive information a social network can hold.