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What do your “Likes” say about you? Can soap defeat art directors? Samsung eyes up its competition, but is Apple working on something huge? Plus other burning questions.

Jim Kerr is Venture Publishing's Associate Director of Digital Initiatives. Get in touch with him at

Mar 22, 2013

by Jim Kerr

Have you ever wondered what the things you “Like” on Facebook say about you?

Quite a lot, as it turns out. According to The Atlantic, researchers from the University of Cambridge and Microsoft say they’re able to guess people’s gender, sexuality, age, race and political affiliation with “remarkable accuracy” based on what they “Like” on Facebook. The researchers say the results show how potentially intrusive a predictive analysis like that can be. Then again, some of the “Likes” on a particular page might not even be real.

The BBC is reporting on an investigation into artists buying social networking statistics, and even buying comments to make those stats seem more legit. Twitter, Facebook and YouTube all say that buying “Likes” is against their rules, but we’ll see what happens when Next Big Sound releases its report – which will include names – later this year. If this practice is as widespread as some would have you believe, will it make you think twice about the money your business dedicates to advertising on social media sites?

Speaking of advertising, Dove Canada is doing some pretty unique things lately with its award-winning “Real Beauty” campaign. Co.Create reports that Dove is “fighting fire with fire” in its battle against unrealistic beauty standards in our society by going after Photoshop.

The ad team created a Photoshop file called “Beautify” and put it up on a number of sites that art directors and design people are known to frequent. It’s presented as an aid for retouching pictures in Photoshop, but what it actually does is undo any “photoshopping” that has been done on a picture.

Brilliant? Somewhat. Shady? A little bit. Does this type of marketing cross the line? I get the feeling the lines are blurred when it comes to photoshopping pictures.

Meanwhile, the wearable technology arms race continues to heat up with reports that Samsung and Google both plan to release a smartwatch sometime soon. It’s not all about the watches though – Samsung just released a smartphone that allows users to scroll through content with their eyes, and Apple was just awarded patents for wireless charging technology and an augmented-reality system.

Finally, did you wish Twitter a happy birthday this week? It’s hard to believe it’s already seven years old, isn’t it?

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