Do you want your Facebook profile to show up on a dating site without your permission? Unfortunately, it may have already happened. CNN reports that Lovely-Faces.com opened its doors this week with a million user profiles already listed in its dating directory, complete with facial recognition technology that auto labels each of the profiles with words like “easy going,” or “sly.” The site obtained these profiles by using technology to scrape (steal/copy) a million public profiles directly from Facebook.
Oddly, the duo behind the site claims to be doing it for the betterment of mankind. In a preachy, smug post on a corellary site, Face-to-Facebook.net, Paolo Cirio, an artist, and Alessandro Ludovico, editor-in-chief of Neural magazine, explain the problems with Facebook and their latest attempt at hacktivism.
“Facebook, an endlessly cool place for so many people, becomes at the same time a goldmine for identity theft and dating – unfortunately, without the user’s control,” says the duo. “But that’s the very nature of Facebook and social media in general. If we start to play with the concepts of identity theft and dating, we should be able to unveil how fragile a virtual identity given to a proprietary platform can be. And how fragile enormous capitalization based on exploiting social systems can be. And it’ll eventually mutate, from a plausible translation of real identities into virtual management, to something just for fun, with no assumed guarantee of trust, crumbling the whole market evaluation hysteria that surrounds the crowded, and much hyped, online social platforms.”
Facebook is not happy about the site.
“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.”
Okay guys, statement made. Should we give you a slow clap? Facebook is out to make money and public information on the net can be used against someone. We know this. The problem with this reasoning is that it doesn’t make it any more right for Cirio and Ludovico to create profiles for people without their permission. If you steal something just to prove it can be stolen fairly easily, it still makes you a thief. It’s especially worse if you post the profiles attempting to be sarcastic, but fail at being funny. If this is some grand plan to destroy Facebook, Cirio and Ludovico may be more delusional than the millions who believe Facebook is a secure, private place to chat with their friends.