Software Slurps Your Facebook Posts to Assess Your Personality
Researchers and marketers have long known that your Facebook activity can reveal more about you than you might expect — but now there’s an online tool that shows you how your personality is reflected in what you say on Facebook.
The Five Labs experiment is meant to raise awareness about the amount of personal information that can be gleaned from the language you use on social media.
“It was so illuminating to have this type of tool,” Nikita Bier, the CEO of Five.comin Berkeley, Calif., told NBC News. “It empowers people so they can see what’s commercially available about them.”
When you go to labs.five.com and give the app access to your Facebook account, the program scans your wall posts, looking for key words that hint at your ratings in the standard “Big Five” personality traits.
It sounds a bit like reading your horoscope, but Bier insists that “it’s far more scientific than that.” The algorithm was developed by researchers at the University of Pennsylvania’s Worldwide Well-Being Project and laid out last September in the journal PLOS ONE.
What you get is a percentage rating for five traits: openness, conscientiousness, extraversion, agreeableness and neuroticism. For years, psychologists have been tracking the positives and the negatives associated with high or low scores in those traits.
“The traits that we use are very predictive of life behavior — they can predict impulse buying, they can predict the likelihood of getting in an automobile accident, they can predict health insurance costs,” Bier said.