On a World Wide Web where absolutely anyone can create a site, blog or profile, where consumers can become producers and viewers can become creators, we are fed a constant stream of new online medi
On a World Wide Web where absolutely anyone can create a site, blog or profile, where consumers can become producers and viewers can become creators, we are fed a constant stream of new online media. From innovative YouTube videos to fresh social media concepts, it seems the internet holds the possibility for anyone to gain success and popularity if their ideas are original enough.
So why then, waste one’s time creating something as uninspired and, quite frankly, distasteful as Ratemash.com? A disturbing hybrid of dating site and social media, the website, created and run by a group of 6 men (quelle surprise), takes photographs from University students’ Facebook profiles and displays them for site users to rank based on how attractive they believe each person to be.
I say it is similar to social media, although upon reconsideration, there’s nothing sociable about it. On social networking sites, someone can create an account themselves, interacts freely with their friends, and, most importantly, have the power to decide who views their profile.
On Ratemash, 150,000 profiles from universities all over the country have been uploaded without consent from a single student. So, far from a form of social media – it is, in reality, intrusive and predatory, not to mention a complete breach of privacy. The site scours Facebook for people whose profiles show they are currently attending university (so if you’ve graduated you needn’t worry!), and then features them on the site to be rated ‘hot’ or ‘not.’
Even more alarming is that your photograph is hyperlinked to your actual Facebook profile, so if someone likes the look of you, they can be redirected to your account and ‘friend request’ you. Creepy.
Michael Healy, the founder and owner of the site has commented, saying that people “are welcome to remove themselves at any time.”
Rebecca, a second-year student at York University tried to do just that – however, after emailing Ratemash, asking to be removed from the site, she said: “The response I got back from them was ‘I am sorry that you have been wrongly added, you have now been removed … it’s bullshit – they know exactly what they were doing … And I haven’t been taken down.”
Upon further inspection, I noticed Ratemash was offering prizes such as free nightclub entries if you made the ‘hottest’ 50. I found my old uni and recognised a few faces as I scrolled from hot to, supposedly, not. I alerted one of my friends to the fact that he was featured on the site (in the top 10, no less), to which his reply was along the lines of: ‘that’s creepy, but free stuff come at me.’
Hmm. Not quite the response I was expecting. I took to Twitter to see a broader range of reactions to the site.
One Twitter user, like most, was outraged by the site:
Ratemash is a disgusting concept. It says so much about the quality of the society we live in and are forging for ourselves, it’s mortifying
— Luke. (@LukeMate_Luke) December 1, 2013
While another student, discussing the site on Twitter, claimed her featuring on the site led to strangers trying to befriend her on Facebook:
@Gabriellelowe02 I had so many weirdos add me lately, it’s so bad!!
— Marie Attfield (@marieattfield) November 28, 2013
However, some seemed to be enjoying their new-found Ratemash fame:
Now that I’ve made that ratemash list. I won’t be answering my mums calls anymore. She has to book an appointment to talk to me.
— 65 shades of Isaac (@Isaac_Beckford) November 25, 2013
While others encouraged their Twitter followers to vote for their friends (you do win prizes based on your ‘hotness’ rank, after all):
— Johnny Seifert (@johnnyseifert) November 22, 2013
So it seems the majority vote is against Ratemash, but some people don’t seem too bothered by it.
What do you think? Have your say in the comment box below.
Additionally, if you find yourself on the site and wish to be removed, contact the site at: firstname.lastname@example.org