Hey homo: Facebook probably knows the mo’s

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imageFacebook now knows how many of its 100 million U.S. members are black, Latin and Asian. But will it figure out how many of us are gay?

The networking giant is getting better and better at mining the vast troves of data about its users. Simpletons like us check for profile clues such as someone being interested in the same sex, pages and groups they list and, for the guys, shirtless pics and those ever-so-gay (and often sexy) Guys Wth iPhones poses to figure out if someone is a big mo.

But the geeks at Facebook used real science to figure out the site isn’t as white and Asian as it was just five years ago when it started. So if they can determine that 11 percent of its U.S. users are black, about 9 percent are Latino and 6 percent are Asian, it can’t be much of a leap to think that they’ll figure out ways to ID the gays, too.

The Facebook study used members names and drew from a 2000 Census database that correlates surnames and race — for example, 89.9 percent of Americans named Washington are black, 95.1 percent of Americans named Zavala are Latino and 98.1 percent of people named Yoder are white, according to the Census Bureau.

The scientists then used a statistical technique to adjust their estimates based on the current set of Facebook members’ names.

If you’re a gay guy, two MIT students have already figured that you’re gay, thanks to your list of friends. Gay by association. And with those pesky new, wide-open privacy settings Facebook put in place earlier this month, it’s easier to know more about you and your friends than you might think. (Facebook is already facing a backlash.)

All of this doesn’t really bother us too much. Privacy settings or not, if you post something to a site like Facebook, do so assuming it will be discovered at some point — probably right at the moment the boss at your dream job is doing a little discovery before offering you the position. Just ask Grady Sizemore. The pics always surface. We like viewing them, but they always come out.

Keep that in mind the next time you’re posting the latest shirtless pic of you in the bathroom. Or that other one of you losing your tongue in the mouth of that hottie at the neighborhood pub. Or those from the Atlantis cruise to the Bahamas or the Olivia ship that took you to the Isle of Lesbos.

Then again, if you’re living in the closet, you probably shouldn’t be living online.


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