Lucia Dossin

Beerpong or Voltaire?

Booklet cover

Workshop developed as outcome of the research Object-Oriented Subject, where my colleague Lídia Pereira and I investigate the methods and strategies employed by Facebook, as well as by other parties, to build user profiles. Our attention is turned towards the inferences Facebook makes, i.e., the inclusion, in these profiles, of some properties that were not obtained through direct users’ input.

The workshop was designed for a broad audience and therefore is intended to be easily grasped. With that in mind, we translated one of the methods we investigated into a series of visual elements, so that the entire process could be followed without the use of any computers.

Beerpong or Voltaire?, the title of this workshop, refers to Facebook content which can potentially indicate, with high accuracy, whether a user is likely to be an extrovert or an introvert. This prediction is based on the trivial act of liking content on Facebook.

In the context of this workshop we use a fictional dataset composed of User Likes and psychological data which is traditionally obtained from extensive questionnaires. This fictional dataset allows us to infer the participants’ personality traits based on their choices during the workshop.

Rather than building trustworthy psychological profiles, our aim is to illustrate one of the methods deployed to infer user characteristics from available user data, by Facebook as well by many others. We wish to start a discussion around the possible consequences this process might have upon our daily lives.

Booklet, stickers and transparencies
User Profile
Correlation between psychological traits and topics - heatmap

Regarding the workshop material, Lídia Pereira defined the colors, typography and designed the stickers and I was in charge of designing the graphics and the booklet.