State University of New York Institute of Technology
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Feds Accuse Jerk.com of Scraping Facebook, Cheating Users

From 2009 to 2013, the operators of Jerk.com created profiles for millions of people, including children, using information that was scraped off Facebook, according to charges filed by the Federal Trade Commission.  The site continues to operate.  The operators of Jerk.com would illegally obtain photos and information from users Facebooks to put on their website, some information which was personal and intimate, such as a woman breastfeeding her child.  The operators of the site created more than 73 million profiles with Facebook information.  Although some of these images were on their Facebooks, the operators of Jerk.com were obtaining some of these images that even had their privacy settings on private.  On Jerk.com, people are determind to be either a jerk or not a jerk.  Also, other users on the website could add information and comments about other people, some of which was very false and detrimental to the image of many individuals.  Jerk.com was falsely advertising that if users subscribed for $30, they would be able to change the information that was put on their about them, but this was a lie.  Users would subsribe, but still be unable to change any information about them on the website.  "In today's interconnected world, people are especially concerned about their reputation online, and this deceptive scheme was a brazen attempt to exploit those concerns," said Jessica Rich, director of the FTC's Bureau of Consumer Protection.  The only reason that people were inclined to subscribe to the site was because they were concerned about their public image as mentioned by Jessica Rich.  The commission is seeking a court order barring the "deceptive practices," prohibiting Jerk.com from using information they obtained improperly and requiring them to delete profiles created from scraped Facebook information.


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