Facebook Horoscopes: the killer app

I have gone on record as stating that I would sacrifice a finger (possibly even a whole hand) for access to raw Google data.  It is the closest to an omniscient, all-knowing creature there has ever been on the planet.  Its data can pretty much predict all sorts of business and other developments.   Facebook on the other hand has earned no such honor in terms of self-mutilation.  It is a badly run platform with management closer to a hacker mentality than a global force for anything.  However, as a social scientist, I would love to experiment with users like they do.

Whether or not horoscopes have the slightest truth to them is scientifically pretty clear.  They do not.  End of story.  Except for the haggling little detail of the fact that most people on the planet, even scientists, actually believe the opposite.  Some secretly read their charts, others try and explain it away, many openly follow them as “innocent fun” but probably well over half the global population in fact gives value to astrology.

Not that many scientists have bothered to discredit astrology simply because it is so obviously irrelevant.  A few studies into the time of year of birth don’t really bear much relevance.  NASA tried to point out that it could be 13 and not 12-star signs and of course they shouldn’t be neatly spaced out if we want to have any sort of astrological founding to this particular myth.  All to no avail.  So I call on Facebook to solve this once and for all!

Oh great schemer, hacker at heart, and lost unethical teenager, Mark Zuckerberg, this is your time to shine.  Use that vast trove of data you so freely sell to everyone to help us understand.  Most users have given you their actual birth date.  And you can cross-reference with a zillion indicators of personality.  Do Virgo’s post more often?  Do Pisces upload more creative things?  Are Scorpios really sex crazy in their online behavior?  You have the data even for shy zodiac signs.  Are all people born in August less likely to post stuff about themselves?  Especially with lockdown and increased reliance on social media, it would be extremely easy to prove or disprove that certain birth dates correlate with certain online traits.

Except you won’t, will you Mark?  Because all you care about is money and power.  If you find any such data you will use it for a dating app or whatever else you can think of which will generate money and power for you.  Congress doesn’t need to break apart technology companies.  Just the selfish ones like Facebook.

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