An awful lot of interpolation

Apparently Facebook can now tell, or at least guesstimate, the object of your affections:

Though 27% of Facebook users don’t list their relationship status at all, only about half of those people are single, according to a Men’s Health article. If you’re one of these users committing the crime of omission, Facebook’s team of “in-house sociologists” has been researching ways to find you out…

If you’re “friends” with several of your other half’s co-workers, family members and friends, for example, Facebook may deduce that your only mutual link to these profiles is your assumed wife/husband/girlfriend/boyfriend. Researchers said they had a high success rate in correctly guessing someone’s romantic partner by this method.

Will Truman contemplates what this may actually mean:

This opens up a potentially crucial role for Facebook in the human social domain. You know what I always hated about relationships? I hated trying to nail down where exactly things stood. I’ll bet there is a lot of potential here for Facebook to tell you. Or they can at least give you a heads up. “In case you were unaware, statistically speaking, you are in a relationship with Suzie.” It would be a very helpful pointer for the unaware.

Of course, you could decide that you don’t want to be in a relationship with Suzie at all. And you can say “Facebook! You’re wrong!” But you ought to make sure that Suzie thinks that Facebook is wrong, too. It could have a real positive social impact of making us have the very important conversation that some are too good at avoiding.

There are several potential Suzies on my “friends” list, and I can tell you exactly where I stand with all of them: nowhere.

And while this situation may be disheartening, it bothers me less than the possibility that Facebook may select a Suzie for me and put her name on my wall — or worse, her wall — for the whole world to see.





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