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Dating site startups are always asking about ways to load up their databases with profiles as quickly as possible in order to avoid the digital echo/empty database conundrum during the first few months of operation.

According to WIRED Epicenter, A group or artists did something that I’ve been waiting to see happen for quite some time. They scraped 250,000 public Facebook profiles and used them to launch a dating site with a quarter million profiles on opening day.

Its illegal, incredibly interesting and did I say illegal? I expect a takedown notice from Facebook any day now, but for the time being, let us bathe in the lawbreaking awesomeness that is lovely-faces.com.

The site was created by Face to Facebook. Click through to read the details of how they accomplished this amazing feat. It turns out the whole thing is an experiment thats part of an art show.

lovely faces facebook profile pageUpon arriving at Lovely-faces, users select the nationality, character (sly easy going, climber, funny, mild or smug), gender and pick a few keywords.

The search results show a gallery of blurry images pulled from Facebook correlating to your search parameters. The crazy part is that people’s real names are displayed. That alone is going to get the attention of various authorities.

The profile page is very basic, displaying the person’s Facebook likes, which is now very easy to do via the Facebook social graph API. Each Like is a link to search results for people who share that specific Like. You can rate the person’s character, how cool they are and leave a comment. When you’re done the anti-spam captcha asks you to confirm their gender.

Images were filtered through facial recognition software and grouped by facial expression, among other things. I’m still reading through the “how and why” documents, see the video below for a taste of the site.

Before you get all uppity, remember that Mark Zuckerberg scraped  his classmates information off Harvard servers in a hot-or-not style mashup which was the precursor to Facebook.