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Online Dating Briefs by Dr. Dato - Facebook photos ‘land on’ dating site

Saturday, February 5th, 2011

Article Subject: Facebook photos ‘land on’ dating site

Article Link:

Website:, facebook

Dr. Dato’s Brief:

Most people don’t understand the technical aspects of how other sites can manage to to easily extract information from one site and build a new on like in this case.

I will attempt to give you a quick tutorial on the relative ‘ease’ at which information can be extracted from other sites by anyone. This will hopefully provide some insights as to how the internet works, if you didn’t know already.

The biggest ’scraper’ of websites in the world is Google, it needs to do that in order to provide useful information to all the users through its search engine page. Basically Google sends out what is called a Google bot to any site it wants to find out more about. The bot essentially drills through the home page and subsequent pages following link by link and using its unique algorithm it can determine what the website is all about. It then stores this information into its own database which is queried by all the users around the world.

In this way Google is able to deliver meaningful and useful information to its end user. As it so happens the site can be small or large that the bot is looking at and so the bot needs to do a lot of crawling and keep returning to the site to properly index all of its web pages into its own database. Since the website can have changing content, this will trigger the bot to come back regularly to the website to pick up on new content.

Here is the caveat; some websites have a ‘login’ feature which allows user to enter the website and see private information regarding the account. Google has no knowledge of the accounts held in the site and is therefore unable to login and see the pages ‘behind’ the accounts. In similar fashion, some of your web pages in your facebook account are public and the others are private depending on your privacy settings in facebook. The only pages that another ‘hacker’ can lift are the pages that are public.

So in short, it is really pointless to blame the finger on privacy concerns when our information is already public to the world. This is why Facebook is unable to take a rigid stance on this, because it might as well slap Google on the hands for doing the same. But we all know that is not going to happen.

facebook - how much do you know about its privacy settings?

facebook - how much do you know about its privacy settings?

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