Facebook tells you what you like the minute you sign up

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Facebook’s gotten a lot of mileage out of suggesting pages to users based on the pages frequented by their friends and others in their extended networks. But starting today, it will tell people who have just joined what pages they might be most interested in based on their demographics.

When the site is walking new members through setting up their profiles, a page now comes up asking them to choose their interests. This is a category that includes concepts, brands, celebrities, companies, movies, music, books and more. The page contains a scroll box with selectable interests tailored to their ages, genders, and other traits. It also shows how many people have liked each of these items.

Currently, highlighted suggested interests include Xbox, Toy Story, Justin Bieber, Skittles, Barack Obama, the World Cup and Dr. Pepper.

Because there are so many brand pages, Facebook explicitly stated that none of these page suggestions will be sponsored. The algorithm that governs which Pages are displayed will also make sure that it only serves up Pages that are actually drawing an audience. The idea is to make new users feel immediately engaged in the site’s content even before they add friends.

In launching this feature, Facebook seems to be following in Twitter’s footsteps. The micro-blogging site previously launched a suggested users list to recent joiners, recommending who they should follow based on their connections and other volunteered information.

Twitter got a lot of flack for this feature, because it seemed to be biased, and anyone listed immediately attracted hundreds of thousands of new followers. Facebook says its algorithm is designed to avoid that scenario.

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