A dating site that opens with a pic of creepy basement guy and his mail-order Eastern European bride clad in Walmart attire and smiling unnervingly has gotten in a bit of hot water for scraping all the info for their 250,000 “profiles” from publicly available, not-deliberately-shared personal information culled from Facebook.
The site was shut down for a spell when the controversy first broke, but it’s back up and running, classing unwitting Facebook users as “sly,” “climbers,” “smug,” or “mild.” 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.
When users click a result to "arrange a date," they're taken to the person's public Facebook profile.
The site scraped Facebook data without permission, and the company told Wired that it's not amused and will "take appropriate action." Basically, it looks like an awkward commentary on the shallowness of online dating profiles and Facebook's confusing privacy policies, but violating privacy to make a point about privacy doesn't work very well.
A pair of artists gathered the public profiles of more than 1 million Facebook users, then took the pictures and created a fake dating site called
Users can search based on nationality, traits like "easy going," and gender, or can simply enter a name and see if they're in the database.
And how fragile enormous capitalization based on exploiting social systems can be.
And it’ll eventually mutate, from a plausible translation of real identities into virtual management, to something just for fun, with no assumed guarantee of trust, crumbling the whole market evaluation hysteria that surrounds the crowded, and much hyped, online social platforms.“We have taken, and will continue to take, aggressive legal action against organizations that violate these terms.
But that’s the very nature of Facebook and social media in general.
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.
The artists, Paolo Cirio and Alessandro Ludovico, tried to explain their point in a press release issued yesterday (PDF here), but it's basically a bunch of gibberish -- or maybe that's part of the art.
Perhaps you missed it amidst all the hubbub surrounding Match.com's purchase of Ok Cupid, but this week a new dating site called launched with 250,000 member profiles--a sea of names and smiling faces neatly categorized by gender, nationality and personality type (do you prefer your partner smug or sly? Cirio and Ludovico, who both work in media in Europe and have also pranked Google and Amazon, claim they launched the site--which is down as of this writing--to illuminate how vulnerable our virtual identities are in the age of social media: "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 ...