Kosinksi, who said he enjoys using Facebook and other online resources, urges consumers to be careful. He added, "People should be aware that whatever they do online can be used to infer traits and personality aspects way beyond what they believe it can be used for. [Our research] shows this can happen."
He said he hopes his research will start a discussion that leads policy makers and consumers to modify the technology so users have control over the data they create.
His study received funding from Microsoft Research, where he works as a consultant, and the Boeing Corporation.
Learn more about privacy issues in the information age from the Electronic Privacy Information Center.
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