MTL Blog removes 'hot' articles based on students' social media profiles

Finding their picture on MTL Blog has been a shock for some students who say they were not asked for permission by the site.

Montreal-based website was criticized for article on 'hot' students at local universities

Ruby Mae Landry says she was not asked permission by MTL Blog to use her photo. (Submitted by Ruby Mae Landry)

Montreal-based website MTL Blog has removed two articles about the "hottest" students at local universities that contained unauthorized pictures pulled from social media.

The articles, titled "18 of the Hottest McGill University Girls on Instagram" and "12 of the Hottest Concordia University Guys on Instagram," feature snapshots taken from students' public social media accounts, as well as their screen names.

"I don't think there's a city with as many awesome people in it as Montreal," reads the McGill-themed article.

Links to the two articles brought up "Page not found" messages by late Friday morning, and do not appear elsewhere on the website. 

That comes following complaints the website used students' names and pictures without first consulting them.  

Ruby Mae Landry, an 18-year-old McGill Life Sciences student, was surprised when friends told her that her photo was featured in the story. She says she hadn't been informed by MTL Blog beforehand.

"I was uncomfortable because the basis of the article is based on girls and how they look, and appearance, and judging that, and it doesn't have a lot of substance," she told CBC's Daybreak.

Ruby Mae Landry (right) is upset that MTL Blog used this image from her Instagram account in a story titled "18 of the Hottest McGill University Girls on Instagram." (rubymaelandry/Instagram)

She says she also received messages from men on Facebook after MTL Blog posted her picture. 

"A few guys had messaged me. One was like, 'Oh, I saw you on MTL Blog,' and another was like, 'I saw you on the Blog. You're so hot.' And it's like, okay, people are able to search me and find me on any social media now, not just Instagram, because my name is out there," she said.

Landry says that her Instagram account isn't private, but that if MTL Blog had asked to use her photo, she probably would have said no.

MTL Blog did not respond to interview requests from CBC.

Student paper publishes editorial

The Concordian, one of the Concordia's student newspapers, published an article speaking out about MTL Blog's use of students' images. 

Opinions editor David Easey and Concordian staff called for a boycott of MTL Blog and urged the website to remove the two articles.

Opinions editor David Easey wrote an op-ed entitled, "The Concordian blacklists the despicable MTL Blog."

"[Students] never consented. It's something you want no part of — but they took it off social media so it's fair game in terms of 'legality," he wrote.
 

With files from Laura Marchand and CBC's Daybreak