Don't miss the latest stories

Follow us

Share this

250,000 Facebook Profiles Hacked in The Name of 'Art'

Subscribe to DesignTAXI
Like us on Facebook
250,000 Facebook profiles suspiciously showed up on dating website '', and were given labels like "smug", "climber", and "sly". All without permission and in the name of 'Art'.

And that was the work of Paolo Cirio, a media artist, and Alessandro Ludovic, a media critic, who scraped Facebook with what they call "The Hacking Monopolism Trilogy." And it is "art, not commerce", the duo claimed.

On their website, the two explained how they did it. They first collected "public data" from 1 million Facebook profiles, including their profile pictures and their online friend connections. They then began to analyze pictures for those that showed smiling faces.

Once they had a filtered list, they customized a face recognition algorithm using self learning neural networks programmed to "group" all the faces into categories -- "climber", "easy going", "funny", "mild", "sly" and "smug".

It seemed what inspired these pair of 'artists' was the movie that escalated Mark Zuckerberg into a household name -- The Social Network. They insist that within the Oscar-nominated movie, Mark Zuckerberg's character mentioned that he's "not talking about a dating website" but in reality, "Facebook is not a dating website, but it works using the same triggering principles."


Which is why if Zuckerberg is not going to do it, they are. They then created, and imported the 250,000 filtered profiles, all appearing to be searching for potential sexual relationships, categorized based on real data and real faces that users have personally posted on Facebook.

Facebook, obviously, was not impressed. "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." Barry Schnitt, Facebook's director of policy communications told Gizmodo.

Within Facebook's terms of use, it indicated that permission has to be applied for whoever "want to collect data from its pages", which Cirio and Ludovic have violated by not doing so.

Well, it's not the first time hackers managed to extract profile information from Facebook. An earlier episode had a hacker scrape 100 million profiles from the social networking site, and then have them uploaded on to BitTorrent as a compressed 2.8GB file for public download.

It's almost always with irony whenever Facebook complains of external parties hacking into its network (Someone else hacked into Zuckerberg's Facebook page lately). Zuckerberg & Co. achieved fame for hacking into school servers and recently even launched a Hacker Cup to celebrate the best hackers.

For those who are worried if they will appear as "easy going" or "smug" on search engines, we recommend a search of your name. For now, it appears that the site has been taken down .

Receive interesting stories like this one in your inbox
Advertise here

More news on

Also check out these recent news