Dating website imports 250,000 unwitting Facebook accounts

How do you launch a dating website with 250,000 members on the first day? That's a question Wired asked, and they came to the conclusion that the site founders who launched Lovely-Faces.com this week, with profiles — names, locations and photos were scraped from publicly accessible Facebook pages. The site categorizes these "volunteers" into personality types, using a facial recognition algorithm, so you can search for someone in your general area who is “easy going,” “smug” or “sly.”

Or, you can search for people using their real names.

So how did they do it? Paolo Cirio, a media artist, and Alessandro Ludovic, media critic and editor in chief of Neural magazine, explained the concept on a specially created website:

Through special custom software we collected data from more than 1,000,000 Facebook users. What we collected is their "public data" - some of their personal data (name, country, Facebook groups they subscribe to) plus their main profile picture and a few friend relationships.

Facebook, were not amused.

“Scraping people’s information violates our terms,” said Barry Schnitt, Facebook’s director of policy communications. “We have taken, and will continue to take, aggressive legal action against organizations that violate these terms. We’re investigating this site and will take appropriate action.”

Facebook requires permission for companies to scrape data, as shown in their terms of service.

Cirio and Ludovic say they will remove a user’s profile, if a person asks, and the site doesn’t have any indication they are actually trying to make any money. Instead, it’s part of a series of prank sites, the first two of which aimed at Google and Amazon, intended to make people think more about data in the age of internet behemoths.

They do prove a point, it's almost laughable that Facebook is angry about someone doing exactly the same thing to make ends meet. Zuckerberg initially started out by creating FaceMash, a website that compared coeds by scraping user details off school servers, and allowing visitors to vote for the better looking one.

Image credit: Wired

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Interesting website...

"Scraping people's information violates our terms"

Well surely if the bloke who used the software has never used Facebook, then he hasn't agreed to any terms..?

And how the hell can Facebook enforce this term, aside from making people's profiles private?

Edit: and wtf does "climber" mean in this context, I'm assuming it has nothing to do with rock climbing?

smooth_criminal1990 said,
"Scraping people's information violates our terms"

Well surely if the bloke who used the software has never used Facebook, then he hasn't agreed to any terms..?

And how the hell can Facebook enforce this term, aside from making people's profiles private?

Can't say I disagree with you there.

From my perspective, it's pretty simple: anything you post online can be assumed to be public and will be scraped. Even so-called "private" data is shared among Facebook's advertisers and business partners.

So what is your recourse if a significant other stumbles across your "profile" on this site with a Google search or something? This kind of practice is utterly reprehensible. I honestly hope that Facebook take action against these people.

I honestly don't understand why people make their social network profile public like that where anyone can see them.

If your that hard up for friends that you feel the need to make your Facebook profile public where anyone (500 million people plus) can see? Then you have issues.

I only friend people I know..and lock out where friends of my friends can see my profile on Facebook.

Interesting, my wifes cousin developed something similar, of course facebook was in on the deal. But his acts like an application you install and allows you to search (using facial recognition) for others who have installed based on preferpreferences

Worst...Site...Ever. So slow. Lots of the pictures are broken. And I just now got a response searching for my name and wouldn't you know it...500 internal server error.

Went on the site, searched my name.

Got a error;
"TypeError; Cannot call "hasChildNodes" of null.

Thats the error you get while screen scraping if there is nothing there... wow. It scrapes while you search.

"Through special custom software we collected data from more than 1,000,000 Facebook users."
So how do we find out if lets say, my profile was scraped. And is now on this site?

As explained in the article, this only applies to those profiles of which are public. Which in itself proves a point in the whole exercise!

Gothic_Rebel said,
"Through special custom software we collected data from more than 1,000,000 Facebook users."
So how do we find out if lets say, my profile was scraped. And is now on this site?

Glad mines locked down and none public