Home / Science & Tech / Meet Profile Engine, the “spammy” Facebook crawler hated by people who want to be forgotten
Meet Profile Engine, the spammy Facebook crawler hated by people who want to be forgotten

Meet Profile Engine, the “spammy” Facebook crawler hated by people who want to be forgotten

Google’s latest report on its implementation of the European “right to be forgotten,” which allows people to petition to have search results on them removed, shows a backlash against the ubiquity of information about people and their lives floating around on social networks. Facebook had the most Google search results expunged. The second-most requested site is possibly one you have never heard of.

Profile Engine is a fairly low-budget-looking search engine, started in 2007 in New Zealand and partly owned by the Auckland University of Technology. It allows you to find people on social networks. Google has been getting a lot of requests to reverse this trend—almost 3,300 results from Profile Engine have been taken down by Google since May, when the “right to be forgotten” came into effect.

In 2008, Profile Engine acquired the rights to crawl through the back-end of Facebook and go through its user data. Profile Engine was originally a search for Facebook, and provided their “advanced search” functionality. The deal existed until 2010, when Facebook allegedly shut off access and Profile Engine sued the social network. According to the legal complaint, in the course of the deal, “over 400 million profiles were aggregated, along with over 15 billion ‘friendship’ connections between people and 3 billion ‘likes’.” Profile Engine also accused Facebook of making false statements about it being “unsafe” or “spammy.” Read More

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