Your social media could reveal much more about you than you think.
For example, say if you have a medical condition.
In a new study, researchers could predict 21 types of medical conditions – From pregnancy to skin diseases – by analyzing people's Facebook profiles.
Facebook status updates were "particularly effective at predicting diabetes and mental illness conditions, including anxiety, depression and psychoses", the study found.
The study will be published June 19 in PLOS One, a peer-reviewed open access scientific journal published since 2006.
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"The human personality, mental state and health behavior are all reflected in their social media and all have a huge impact on health," the study said.
To conduct the study, researchers associated consent patients electronic records with their social media.
In total, they viewed 949,530 Facebook status updates across 999 participants whose posts were longer than 500 words.
The researchers identified languages that were likely to indicate the characteristic behavior or symptoms of certain diagnoses. For example, posts that referred to "drink", "drunk" or "bottle" are marked for alcohol abuse.
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But warned the study that predictive words are not necessarily causative mechanisms. Nevertheless, social media patterns have predictive value and can lead to new opportunities for personalization of health care.
Question about personal data
"The ability of the social media language to predict diagnoses raises parallel issues of privacy, informed consent, and data ownership," the researchers wrote.
In recent years, Facebook has been on fire for its user privacy practices. Tech giant earned $ 56 billion in 2018 by tracking users and using that data to sell targeted advertising.
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Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg has acknowledged the company's previous struggles with privacy, including the Cambridge Analytica scandal and a security breach that exposed at least 50 million users.
In March, Zuckerberg revealed plans to relocate the company as a "privacy-focused" platform.