Ratemash.com has popped up in the last couple of weeks and its modus operandi is simple – it uploads Facebook pics of students from various universities without their permission and then asks site visitors to vote on the “hotness” of the pics.
They have girls’ and boys’ leaderboards where students from various universities have been “rated” by other people.
The NUS and students’ unions across UK have spoken about taking a collective action against the site.
I absolutely abhor the site. And this isn’t a moral stance. If the site was about users voluntarily uploading their pictures onto Ratemash and then the whole circus about rating was there, I would probably write about the site in our enterprise section and interview the people behind it. We don’t just slate a startup; e.g.: resisting all pressure, I did interview Rateyourlecturer.co.uk, although the academia was up in arms against their ideas.
But Ratemash.com is rubbish. It is rubbish from a User Interface point of view; it is rubbish from a website design point of view; and most importantly, it is rubbish from the way it plans to do business.
You cannot search for your name or even for a university to see if your image has been uploaded without your permission. The site founders have played a clever game by neglecting the feature, in order to make it difficult for you to be proactive and remove your image.
I have waited a while before writing this article. Essentially, I was hoping that somebody will cover the story openly for students. But nobody has – everyone seems to be stuck on the language appropriate for the situation.
Yes, I cannot do anything, either. But at least I can write honestly about the horrible business model and amazing infringement of privacy that is behind Ratemash.com.
Here’s an excerpt from a Huffington Post UK article:
A spokesperson for Facebook told HuffPost UK the social media site did not have control over Ratemash as it was an external platform.
They advised all Facebook users to revise their privacy settings and follow these safety tips:
1. Use the ‘View as’ button on your Timeline to see what your profile looks like to different people
This will allow you to see precisely how your profile is viewed by every one of your friends and anyone on Facebook. Using this function enables you to ensure that they are in control of who can view what content on their profile.
2. Use the ‘activity log’ button on your Timeline to curate different profiles for different audiences
The activity log enables you to choose which of your activity can be viewed and by whom.
3. Turn on ‘pending posts’ to review posts from friends before they appear on your profile
You can now turn on the ability to review photos or posts you are tagged in before they appear on your profile. This is another way in which you can ensure that you have as much control over what is added to your profile as possible.
4. Use Facebook’s Reporting Tools
Every page, photo or group on Facebook has a reporting tool next to it that can be used to send a report to Facebook. Familiarise yourself with how to make a report at facebook.com/report and visit the Facebook Family Safety Centre for more information at facebook.com/safety
5. Make sure you block people
If there is anyone on Facebook you don’t want to communicate with, make sure you block them quickly by using the block and report button on their profile. If you’re not sure how to do this – visit the Help Centre at facebook.com/help/
Here is what Ratemash describes itself as: “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.”