Site Steals 250,000 Facebook Profiles For A “Social Experiment”

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You might be signed up for Lovely-Faces.com’s dating services and not even know it. Website creators Paolo Cirio and Alessandro Ludovico took information from 250,000 Facebook users and used it to create their project which uses facial recognition technology to categorize users into the kinds of people they look like they would be. Problem is they didn’t ask permission first from the profile owners, but they claim since it’s part of a “social experiment” it should be fine.

The site’s not really a dating site. On Face to Facebook, the minds behind Lovely-Faces.com explain that the website was created to prove how virtual identity is increasingly unstable when you consider how easy identity theft is online and how companies can easily take advantage of this information, with or without Facebook’s permission. On the Theory section of the website, they elaborate:

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.

Facebook isn’t pleased with this use of their data, even though Lovely-Faces.com promises that they will remove anyone who wants their picture taken off the site. “Scraping people’s information violates our terms,” Facebook’s director of policy communications Barry Schnitt said to Wired. “We have taken, and will continue to take, aggressive legal action against organizations that violate these terms. We’re investigating this site and will take appropriate action.”

More on TIME.com:

U.S. Surveillance, Chinese Espionage and My Impending Lockout from Faceboook

Two Minute Video: Oregon Trail, Carmen Sandiego Get Social on Facebook

Airlines To Keep Users Connected on Facebook In Flight

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