What hidden signals in social media reveal about you

There’s much more personal information contained within your Twitter and Facebook posts than you think, which creates both benefits and fears.

The activity patterns of social media users are being analysed by IBM researcher Eben Haber, who says the vast majority of people are oblivious to the wealth of information they are giving away with every update on their social networks.

Haber specialises in the science of how humans and computers interact. His work focuses on what we can learn about people through their linguistic and activity patterns on public social media. He argues that advertisers could save billions of dollars by harvesting data about social media trends and targeting ads at people who are more likely to respond. 

Talking to BBC Future at IBM's Almaden Research Center in California, he also warns the amount of data we inadvertently reveal about ourselves - our linguistic footprints - can have "creepy” results.

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