Website hijacks Facebook users' profiles for dating service

2011-02-08 00:00

AN American dating website has stolen the personal information of about 250 000 people, including a number of South Africans, from their Facebook profiles and posted it on the dating site without their knowledge.

The website, www.lovely-faces.com, promises to connect you with a suitable partner.

They have divided men and women into categories according to the information they have posted on Facebook.

They have categorised them as “climber”, “easygoing”, “funny”, “mild”, “sly” and “smug”.

People are also categorised according to nationality and gender.

Paolo Cirio and Alessandro Ludovic, the creators of the dating site, tried to explain their objective to Mailonline.com, describing the website as an experiment aimed at warning people about how dangerous Internet social networks are.

They said users of the website can click on any person’s name and are then led to a description of the person using information they have posted on Facebook, and are finally led to the person’s Facebook profile.

“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.

“But that’s the very nature of Facebook and social media in general,” says a statement on their website.

The bosses of Facebook have come out strongly against the website’s abuse (what they label “scraping”) of users’ information. They said they will “take appropriate action”.

“Scraping people’s information violates our terms. We have taken, and will continue to take, aggressive legal action against organisations that violate these terms,” Facebook’s director of policy communications, Barry Schnitt, told Wired.com.

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