How does a unknown dating site, with the absurd intention of destroying Facebook, launch with 250,000 member profiles on the first day?
You scrape data from Facebook.
At least, that’s the approach taken by two provocateurs who launched Lovely-Faces.com this week, with profiles — names, locations and photos — scraped from publicly accessible Facebook pages. The site categorizes these unwitting 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.”
Facebook, as you might expect, is 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’s terms of service require those who want to collect data from its pages to apply for permission, which Cirio and Ludovic did not do when they pulled down publicly available profile information on a million Facebook users. (They aren’t the first to scrape a million Facebook profiles.)
Moreover, it’s a bit funny hearing Facebook complain about scraping of personal data that is quasi-public.
Mark Zuckerberg, the company’s founder, made his name at Harvard in 2003 by scraping the names and photos of fellow classmates off school servers to feed a system called FaceMash. With the photos, Zuckerberg created a controversial system that pitted one co-ed against another, by allowing others to vote on which one was better looking.
So even if Facebook’s anticipated legal nasty gram makes its way to the duo, who seem to be based somewhere in Europe, they’ll have an excellent defense.
“I learned it by watching you, Zuck.”
- RonPaulForums.com is an independent grassroots outfit not officially connected to Ron Paul but dedicated to his mission. For more information see our Mission Statement.