Dating site steals SA Facebook profiles

Johannesburg - 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 to 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”, “easy going”, “funny”, “mild”, “sly” and “smug”.

People are also categorised according to nationality and gender.

Users of the website can click on any person’s name and are then led to a description of the person.

Chris Gandy, an American girl described as “mild”, is one of those whose profile was hijacked without her knowledge.

The website describes her interests as Applestudents, Tuckermax and Jarette Howell Photography Design, according to what she has listed for her Facebook friends.

Users can rate Gandy out of five on how “cool” she is, after which they are taken directly to her Facebook profile.

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

“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,” according to a  statement on their website.

The bosses of Facebook have come out very 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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