As of this weekend, it’s been seven years since Mark Zuckerberg, Dustin Moskovitz, Chris Hughes, and Eduardo Saverin launched Facebook from a Harvard dorm room. It was originally located at thefacebook.com and signed up its first million users within eleven months; now it has nearly 600 million users. I haven’t seen something grow that exponentially since the time I forgot to pay my credit card bill for one month.
You don’t get 500 million friends without making a few enemies. (I just thought of that.) LovelyFaces.com, a fake dating site / social commentary prank, launched with 250,000 profiles filled with data taken from Facebook. They also sort unwilling participants’ profile pics into categories including “smug”, “easy going”, and “sly” based on a facial recognition program. Media artist Paolo Cirio and editor/media critic Alessandro Ludovic explain their actions here but allow us to offer a tl;dr version: “blah blah literally juxtaposing blah blah subliminal mantra yadda yadda crowdsourced targeting et cetera recontextualized and so on. Pretentious.” Somebody trying to get an art grant here? Anyway, Facebook requires sites to apply for permission before collecting data from public profiles, permission for which the “dating” site did not apply. Facebook says they’re investigating and are prepared to take legal action if necessary. For now we can still look for some of these “easy going” people Lovely Faces is offering. We’re pretty sure that’s code for “awesomely slutty”.
Meanwhile, MySpace continues to crash and burn. They laid off 47% of their staff, and now parent company NewsCorp is rumored to be looking for a buyer so they can unload the website entirely. But who’s going to buy it? Demand has dropped considerably for profiles containing white text on a light-colored animated glitter background and music that autoplays. Sorry, 2005. You won’t be missed.
- A statistician figured out how to tell if bingo-style scratch tickets were winners by looking at them, and then he immediately reported the flaw to the authorities. Damn it, Melvin. (Wired)
- Hotmail is starting to offer throwaway email addresses. Wait, that isn’t what Hotmail addresses were for already? (CNET)
- Hackers repeatedly broke into NASDAQ computers for unknown reasons, although they didn’t gain access to the trading platform. (WSJ)
- A dog was court-ordered to leave Madinah, Saudi Arabia. We hope he can read the court order. (Arbroath)
KNOW YOUR STATS
- Wow, can you believe the game yesterday? Did you think that one guy from that one team was going to do that one thing? Pretty amazing, huh? I totally watched that and am not bluffing in the slightest. Anyway, here’s an infographic about the Super Bowl. Did you know 9 out of the 10 most-watched TV programs are Super Bowls? I must have been watching the tenth. (InfographicWorld, picture via PleatedJeans)
- Facebook grew from 337 million users to 585 million users in 2010, a 73.6% annual growth. This means they added another notch to their bedpost every 8 seconds. Your mom says that’s still amateur. (TechCrunch)
- Here are eleven gadgets that are going to be significantly cheaper this year. They’re always the same price for us: $fell-off-a-truck. (Mint)