Note: The site in question is down and probably for good.
Sometime last week, two guys launched a “dating” site with 250,000 users. Which would be a huge launch except for the fact that the users joined the site without actually knowing about it. How did they do this and why did they do this? Their reasoning is explained in detail on their site.
The process, called “scraping”, took the pictures from the profiles of one million Facebook users, compiled and matched them to other users using special software and then posted the 250,000 matches to their dating site. The authors of the site, Paolo Cirio and Alessandro Ludovico, wanted to demonstrate just how easy it is for people/companies to troll through Facebook, collecting “public data” so they can do whatever it is they are going to do with the data. This demonstrated not only how unsecure Facebook is, but also how many people do not take advantage of the privacy features rolled out by Facebook. To the right, this is what my privacy settings summary page looks like.
Just remember that common sense plays a huge factor in what you do on Facebook. If you don’t want any of your personal data shared (telephone number, address etc.), either don’t post it at all or make sure that your settings are as secure as Facebook can make them. There’s a really cool site that lets you search for status/post updates of anyone who has that information available for public viewing. You can go to openbook.org to check to see if you can find any posts made by you.
Facebook can only do so much so, it’s up to us users to use a little bit of that common sense I just mentioned. Be vigilant!