In order to prove a point about public data on social networks, two self-described media artists hacked and stole Facebook data from one million user profiles and eventually created a dating site with that information.
The media artists, Paolo Cirio and Alessandro Ludovico, say they used customized software to take the Facebook data that would eventually be used to create the site. The software was able to automatically run through profiles to take the data. Cirio says each person on Facebook has approximately eight friends with public profiles, the type used to mine data for the site.
The data taken included a person's name, country, Facebook groups they belonged to along with their profile picture and a few of their personal relationships. Based on this data, the two built a database.
Once the database was collected, the duo studied and customized a face recognition algorithm. This algorithm was meant to group people into various categories such as climber, easy going, funny, mild, sly and smug. Eventually they imported 250,000 of the profiles into what has become the site.
Cirio told Artinfo the project took two years. He also says the dating website is 100 percent legitimate. However, on the site itself (http://www.lovely-faces.com) when users click an about link they say it's a social experiment.
It's also evident from their website explaining the project (http://www.face-to-facebook.net), the duo wanted to make a statement on the access of personal information.
The project talks about the consequences of posting sensitive personal data on social network platforms, and especially the consequences in real life. These consequences are always underestimated because we still instinctively tend to confine what we do online in the visual space of the screen. Face-to-facebook practically questions online privacy through one of the web's most iconic platforms, they write on the website.
According to the Artinfo article, Cirio would like to see Facebook regulated and doesn't think it should be a private company. Recently there the use of personal data for marketing has come under scrutiny. On Lovely Faces, Cirio and Ludovico say they aren't using the data that way and if people can request to get their information removed.
Facebook and Cirio did not respond an inquiry for comment.
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