We have read about various internet dating site scams and recently saw that a class action being mounted against Match.com over the use of fake and dead profiles on their internet dating website.
A new dating site Lovely-Faces.com has just been freshly launched, populated by 250,000 member profiles from the very first day of operations, an impressive feat.
How was this accomplished? The owners of Lovely-Faces.com scraped the data from Facebook without user permission.
Lovely-faces.com isn’t a real dating site, rather a prank site developed according to it’s founders to prove a point, namely the perils of entrusting your personal data to a website and how vulnerable virtual identities can be in this new age of social media
Paulo Cirio and Alessandro Ludovic downloaded public information from a million Facebook profiles to develop a database of hundreds of thousands of profile pictures which they then uploaded to their prank dating website.
Unsuspecting facebook users may find their photos being viewed by those seeking partners, without any realisation that the profile pictures had been stolen from Facebook.
Facebook has issued a statement condemning the “scraping” or data mining information as a violation of their terms of service. Facebook are investigating and threatening to take action against the site.
Approximately 250,000 Facebook photos have been stolen. Whilst some commentators quite rightfully characterise this prank as frightening, we forget that Mark Zuckerberg himself created his first popular website “facemash” by scraping photos from various college networks without users’ permission. Zuckerberg was castigated and reprimanded for hacking Harvard University computers to get pictures of coeds for his website Facemash.
Lovely-faces.com is informing users that if they don’t want their pictures listed they need only request it’s removal and it will be deleted from their database.
Facebook owns user photos and can freely use them for any commercial purpose under their terms of service. Once users upload their images into public space they lose control of them in the sense of ownership and any privacy rights.