150 000 students’ photos nicked for website’s creepy hot or not rating game
Ratemash.com has uploaded 150,000 students’ Facebook profiles without their permission. CUSU features pretty highly.
A ‘hot or not’ site branded “creepy” has been quietly uploading photos of students for everyone on the internet to drool over.
Ratemash.com claims to be a better version of Tinder but 150,000 students’ Facebook profile pictures are catalogued on the site without their consent.
Users flick through photos of guys or girls, rating them hot or not. The top 50 at each university are then ranked on a leaderboard, with a link provided to their Facebook profiles.
But Ratemash doesn’t tell users they’re on the site, meaning someone could be looking at your profile right now.
Angry students branded the site “degrading” and “creepy”. Durham student Natasha Henley said: “I had no clue I was on it and didn’t know it existed until today, so no I never signed up.
One Cambridge student featured in the top 50 told The Tab he felt “Very Honoured”.
“It’s quite creepy to think I’m on there, especially since it redirects you to people’s profiles and anyone can get onto the site which has quite a stalkerish vibe to be honest.”
Another student in the top 50 for Cambridge, who could not be reached for a quote, is a member of the CUSU executive.
Arsalan Ghani, notorious for being deposed as Grad Union President, also features.
Millie Hoskins, ranked 11th at Exeter Uni, said: “This is weird and seriously creepy. I’ve emailed them to ask for my name and photo to be taken down because it feels like a breach of privacy.”
Alice Hodgson, a 2nd year in English & Drama at Birmingham said: “It’s really creepy and it’s not within anyone’s right to rate girls, I hate that idea…the fact it links to my Facebook is so weird.”
The site’s owner, 19-year-old Michael Healy, claims users add their friends when they sign up. He told The Tab: “People get invited by their friends but they are welcome to remove themselves at any time.”
“I made it for a university [Regent’s University] that my roommates were going to and it got like 50,000 ratings overnight so I thought I’d scale it to other university. It’s just a bit of fun.
“I see it as Tinder for universities – it’s a lot more interesting because of the leaderboard.”
Healy said he had received “fewer than 100” complaints, but when asked if he thought his site was creepy or an invasion of privacy, he refused to comment.
And he admitted users who wanted their photos removed would have to sign up for the site – connecting it with their Facebook profile – and then delete their photo, before emailing him to remove their account.
Ratemash was founded with £30,000 investment, employing six people. A description on the site says: “Ratemash is buzzing community with members within universities mostly in the UK and around the world who like to go out, party and enjoy themselves. The idea of Ratemash is to make it easier to meet new people in universities and to make going out cheaper, more fun and seamless.”
But there is a fear that Ratemash could assist online stalking more than meeting. The Tab spoke with more than thirty students who found they were listed on the site, and none of them were aware they were featured on it.
And the site doesn’t appear to be user friendly – everyone on the leaderboard has the same score of 22 points, and the site even invites users to rate cats and babies, because they are people’s profile pictures.
Both editors of TCS, CUSU’s newspaper, are also featured in Cambridge’s top 50. Unfortunately none of The Tab editorial team were deemed hot enough to make the cut.
We’re not jumping to conclusions, but isn’t it a bit suspicious that there are so many CUSU members in Cambridge’s hottest’?