The Massachusetts Institute of Technology is watching you.  They’re following you on the social networks and making note of your friends.  MIT also has divined if you’re Gay or not — based solely on who your friends are and what relationships they have besides yours.

MIT found the Gaydar golden recipe:

Using data from the social network Facebook, they [two MIT students] made a striking discovery: just by looking at a person’s online friends, they could predict whether the person was gay. They did this with a software program that looked at the gender and sexuality of a person’s friends and, using statistical analysis, made a prediction. The two students had no way of checking all of their predictions, but based on their own knowledge outside the Facebook world, their computer program appeared quite accurate for men, they said. People may be effectively “outing” themselves just by the virtual company they keep.

“When they first did it, it was absolutely striking – we said, ‘Oh my God – you can actually put some computation behind that,’ ” said Hal Abelson, a computer science professor at MIT who co-taught the course. “That pulls the rug out from a whole policy and technology perspective that the point is to give you control over your information – because you don’t have control over your information.”

I wonder how many straight men are now actively pruning their public friends list of any and all males — just in case the MIT Gaydar points their way?


  1. Maybe the Gaydar thinks that too many female friends is also a sign of being gay? I know a few gay men who have pretty much nothing but female friends.
    I’d be really interested to see it in action.

  2. Gordon —
    Because we can never be too certain, I have deleted you from all my friends lists. Sorry, but MIT is watching. I also deleted all my female friends as well as all the cats and dogs I have befriended. I’m keeping all my sheep friends, though.

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