Website suffers 'ugly' invasion
Published 20/06/2011 | 08:39
A social networking site for "beautiful people" has been hit by a "Shrek" virus which allowed tens of thousands of "ugly" applicants to sign up.
Members of BeautifulPeople.com must traditionally pass a strict "rating" stage where existing users vote on whether someone is attractive enough to be accepted into the online community.
But this screening process was brought down last month, allowing anyone to join, regardless of their looks.
Owners have apologised to more than 30,000 "unfortunate" people who were "wrongly admitted" to the site and subsequently banished.
"We got suspicious when tens of thousands of new members were accepted over a six-week period, many of whom were no oil painting," managing director Greg Hodge said.
"We responded immediately, repairing the damage from the Shrek virus and putting every new member back into the rating module for a legitimate and democratic vote. The result is that we have lost over 30,000 recent members."
The origin of the "Shrek" virus is still being investigated internally but it is believed a former employee may have been responsible.
A spokesman said the sabotage was initially believed to have been caused by one of the 5.5 million people rejected from the site.
Safeguards are now in place to prevent any further infiltrators who do not come up to the expected standards, the site said.
It insisted member privacy and security was never breached and has set up a hotline to help recently rejected applicants come to terms with the news.