Facebook is investigating a "creepy, appalling" website uploading thousands of students' Facebook profiles without their knowledge and getting users to rate their "hotness", The Huffington Post UK can reveal.
Ratemash.com, which has been slammed as an "appalling invasion of privacy," claims to "sort out your nightlife" by finding which clubs are near "hot" students. The students are categorised by universities, and then appear in a "leaderboard" according to the hotness rating.
There are 138 universities on the site, and members of the public can click through to each students' Facebook profile.
John Gusman, the vice president for education at Bournemouth University's student union, told The Huffington Post UK he was "speechless".
"I don't know what to say. This is appalling. It is an incredible invasion of privacy. I can even see students I know on there. It is unacceptable.
"It's a total attack on students' dignity."
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Gusman added he had alerted officers at student unions across the country of the site, encouraging them to warn their students.
Facebook told HuffPost UK it is currently investigating the website, which is run by Michael Healy. Healy, who says he works "closely" with nightclubs and bars, claims the site is better than Tinder, which he brands "creepy".
Susuana Antubam, women’s officer at University of London Union, told HuffPost UK: "Looking through the site I saw that there were many University of London Colleges featured.
"This is the most creepiest thing I’ve seen since UniLad. The site uses public Facebook information to gain access to student data without permission.
"The only advice I can give at the moment to students who find out that they are featured on the website, is to email the website and ask to be removed. I also advise students to check their security measures on their Facebook profiles."
Anglia Ruskin University issued the following advice:
@HPUKStudents This is unacceptable we advise students to be careful on social media and are investigating this violation of their privacy— Anglia Ruskin (@AngliaRuskin) November 22, 2013
After being alerted by HuffPost UK, Staffordshire University said it was investigating the website and advising students to check their privacy settings on Facebook.
Healy funded the website, which employs six people, through his company Resuno, which creates websites for businesses, including Tavistock Tutors.
Sam Butler, president of Liverpool University's student guild added: "We’ve recently become aware that the website ratemash.com is providing a function where students’ photos are taken from their Facebook without their permission and then ranked by other students according to their appearance.
"Using students’ photos from their Facebook accounts without their permission is an invasion of their privacy and it is unacceptable that some individuals find it entertaining to objectify people in this way."
Healy has been contacted for comment but has yet to respond.