Facebook patent sought to predict personality via posts for ad-targeting

Facebook filed a patent exploring the use of personality characteristics, gathered from people’s  interactions in order to target advertisements better. The social network’s process was to glean information from messages, status updates, posts and comments.

The patent (link here) says personality characteristics could then be stored in a user’s profile and used to tailor news stories and advertisements for them.

Please add important points revealed in the patent


The patent was first filed in 2012, in the names of former Facebook employees Michael Nowak and Dean Eckles, and has been updated twice since then. Facebook says it has never used the personality test in its products. 

The BBC has seen emails from Eckles and other Facebook staff to psychologists from Cambridge University which discuss analyzing data to deduce personality traits.

Eckles told the BBC that his research, which involved asking Facebook users to complete personality question surveys were clearly noted as by Facebook.

Facebook’s ad tools currently let advertisers target ads by people’s socioeconomic status, including income, net worth and zip code (Thehill). 

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