More privacy headaches for Facebook: gay users outed to advertisers

By Jacqui Cheng

Facebook’s privacy problems continue this week after researchers discovered that Facebook may inadvertently be outing gay users to its advertisers. Saikat Guha from Microsoft and Bin Cheng and Paul Francis from the Max Planck Institute for Software Systems set out to study the challenges in targeted advertising systems (PDF) online, but found that advertisers can ferret out gay users from straight users just by looking at who’s clicking—even when that sexual orientation is hidden.

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