Project Gaydar

I know many queens who for whatever reason feel the need to hide their sexuality from their boss or their mother. Before the days of Facebook this was an easy thing. But now as we are connected via social networking sites, our bosses and our mothers are often times linked to our lovers. This could become dangerous for those trying to keep some things in the closet. Facebook has amazing security functions. You can keep things like photos and profiles, including sexual orientation, hidden to certain folks.

But that’s not going to keep your secret hidden, honey. Two students at MIT used what I’d consider common sense to test a theory: can the company you keep, even if online, accurately predict sexuality? The simple answer is yes.

The Boston Globe writes of the students: “Using data from the social network Facebook, they 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.” Via Andy Towle.