Lovely Faces scrapes Facebook, attracts ire

Posted on February 7, 2011


Zuckerberg once got in trouble at Harvard for stealing co-ed data from university servers to create FaceMash. Zuckerberg, who would go on to create Facebook, was accused of stealing data and identities. Today, Wired reports that a press artist and a media critic have decided that turnabout is fair play when it comes to Zuckerberg’s ultimate development. Paolo Cirio and Ludovico’s social research online dating website called Lovely Faces not too long ago went online after scraping 250,000 Facebook profiles for names, locations and pictures – and Facebook is threatening to sue. Facebook currently makes so much money that they probably will not need personnel loans to take this business to court.

What really does

Without obtaining consent, Lovely Faces grabbed Facebook user information and classified photos of male and female faces via a recognition algorithm into such categories as “easy going,” “smug” or “sly.” Cirio and Ludovico are worried about the legality of it all. This is because they used Facebook user’s real names as well. Wired explains that they claim Lovely Faces isn’t for business however for art challenging the idea of sharing online social media personal information.

“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,” write the Lovely Faces founders on Face to Facebook. “And (we’ll see) how fragile enormous capitalization based on exploiting social systems can be.”

Social networks such as Facebook are being targeted by Cirio and Ludovico. The point is to point out cracks inherent in the system. They are hoping to make the networks crumble from over-hyped stock evaluations just like in the early 2000s when the bubble burst stopping several dot coms.

Facebook annoyed with Lovely Faces

Facebook Director of Policy Communications is Barry Schnitt who claims the social network’s terms of service are violated by scarping user data. Thus, Facebook is currently investigating before taking legal action. There have been lawsuits by Facebook before for instance the one where Skull Protection was sued as an online security research firm. This was after 100 million Facebook user names and profile addresses were released. Zuckerberg and business might sue again.


Face to Facebook

New York Times


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