Online ‘dating service’ uses 250,000 profiles from Facebook

Mark ZuckerbergMark ZuckerbergFacebook founder Mark Zuckerberg may yet again find himself in court, this time as the plaintiff.

According to Wired, a new online dating site launched using 250,000 profiles from Facebook without permission.

LovelyFaces.com, the product of two Italian innovators, groups specific stolen profiles into categories including  "funny," "easy-going," "sly," or "smug." Names, profile pictures and locations are among the specifics pillaged from the Facebook profiles.

Visitors are welcome to hunt for dates by scrolling through the "personality" categories or searching by name. To make contact, a visitor can simply click through to the Facebook profile of the victimized user and leave a message.

The latest Facebook breach re-iterates the importance of the social network's personal privacy settings. LovelyFaces.com has utilized only public profiles existing on Facebook, a move that further illustrates the vulnerability of a virtual identity.

And according to founders Paolo Cirio and Alessandro Ludovico, the ease of identify theft is exactly the point they were trying to make.

In a statement on the site's "Face to Facebook" page they say "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 same page shares a link labeled "legal," where the founders appear to understand the intrusive nature of their exploits saying, "if your identity has been hurt by this website, just write to us and we'll remove your data instantly."

Facebook's detailed terms of service explicitly condemns the theft of their user's profiles.

Barry Schnitt, Facebook's director of policy communications, recently shared with Wired that "scraping people's information violates our terms. We're investigating this site and will take the appropriate action."

The locations of the users whose Facebook profiles were compromised are not known but Canadians with public profiles may be potential victims.

According to a 2009 study from Tourism Keys, as many as 42% of Canadians are believed to have accounts with Facebook. And as Facebook continues to grow, the percentage of Canadian users could easily have followed suit within the past 14 months.

(CP Photo)