Fake Dating Site Scrapes 1 Million Facebook Profiles

Dennis Faas's picture

An online "dating" site that was set up to expose the identities of more than 250,000 Facebook users has forced the social networking giant to seek legal action, despite no actual harm being done to the victims.

The web site, called Lovely Faces, was created in an attempt to show how simple it is to misrepresent data and photos that are posted on public forums, all unbeknownst to those being profiled.

Bot Scrapes Over 1 Million Facebook Profiles

Despite being labeled an "awareness attack", site creators Paolo Cirio and Alessandro Ludovico are nevertheless guilty of utilizing an automated program (called a "bot", short for "robot") to take information from over 1 million random Facebook profiles over the course of several months.

The data was then merged into a database and run against a face recognition software program. The profiles were then classified based on six categories (judging from facial expressions): climber, easy going, funny, mild, sly and smug. (Source: wired.com)

Facebook A Goldmine for Identity Theft

In total, over 250,000 people were assigned to at least one category, without any knowledge that this practice was taking place.

In a statement posted on their site, the Italian duo claims that their efforts were done to further prove that Facebook stands as a "goldmine for identity theft" with their crusade serving to "dismantle the trust that 500 million people have put in Facebook".

Facebook Promises Swift Legal Action

Not surprisingly, Facebook wasted little time in offering a retaliatory statement. Spokesman Barry Schnitt said that the act of harvesting personal information from Facebook was a direct violation of its terms, while promising swift legal intervention.

"We have taken, and will continue to take, aggressive legal action against organizations that violate these (Facebook) terms. We've already been in touch with Lovely Faces to demand that they delete the data and we will take additional action as necessary." (Source: computerworld.com)

Within a matter of days following the Facebook statement, Lovely Faces was rendered unavailable.

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