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Dating Sites Steals Facebook Data

| Technical by Staff Reporter

Two match-making artists have created a dating site that uses Facebook profile pictures without the user’s consent

A new website recently surfaced called Lovely-Faces.com, listing people’s actual Facebook profile pictures and related data without their permission.

According to the site the self-proclaimed dating agency was created by artists Paolo Cirio and Alessandro Ludovic, who say it “is a social experiment website where Facebook is contextualised differently.”

According to an online statement Cirio and Ludovic said a million Facebook profile pictures were “stolen” from the social networking site, “to give all these virtual identities a new shared place to expose themselves freely, breaking Facebook’s constraints and boring social rules.”

The duo said the Facebook profile pictures were analysed using facial recognition software and then categorised into “gender,” “funny,” “smug,” “easy going,” “sly,” etc.

The website, which is the “only dating site that lists real people, sincerely posting their real data and picture,” boasts over 200,000 sorted profile pictures “that you’ll feel comfortable watching. Just like in Facebook,” according to Lovely-Faces.com.

But however enthusiastic the creators of the site may be, Facebook users are highly unimpressed with their data being used without their knowledge or consent.

Lovely-Faces.com may argue that they’ve only used profile pictures that were available publicly anyway, but Facebook said the mining of information on the site violates its terms of service and action would be taken against the site.

This may encourage Facebook to (finally) change its privacy controls so the default setting for who can see your profile is not ‘everyone’ as it has been in the past.

The creators of the site say it was done in the name of art, but it occurs to me that the duo may well have recently watched The Social Network – a movie in which Facebook creator Mark Zuckerberg hacks into a university’s network and displays the members’ profile pictures on his own site for public comparison – and seen the golden opportunity for some good ol’ irony.

Whatever the reason, I don’t think Lovely-Faces.com will get away with stealing Facebook data (and boasting about it) for very long, but when and what the outcome will be is as yet unclear.

Source: www.bizpremises.co.za