worlds largest elgg site 'The Profile Engine' is now public - Major enhancements to elgg 1.8

The Profile Engine began life as the worlds largest social network search engine. With addition of an elgg front end it has become a fully fledged social network.

We have had our fork of elgg under intensive development for the last three months and have done some amazing stuff. We now invite the elgg community to be among the very first people to experience the all-new profile engine.

Some of the key enhancements we have made to elgg include:

Full site AJAX which degrades nicely for crawlers or if javascript is off.

Integrated music/video player which will continue to play as you navigate the site, thanks to the AJAX.

Integrated Facebook chat bar with single sign-on.

420 Million personal profiles.

50 Million groups.

20 Billion data points (friendships and group memberships)

Powerful custom-built search engine based on sphinx.


We have had to heavily modify elgg in some respects so unfortunately our work can't all feed directly into the core elgg code but wherever possible we will be open-sourcing and releasing our work as plugins or adapting it to work with a standard elgg install, as soon as time and resources allow.

At the moment, a lot of features are still disabled or incomplete but it's time to start letting people use the site while we continue to develop it. Currently the only option for login is using Facebook.

Chances are that you already have a profile engine profile, just log in with Facebook to claim it!

We would be very keen to hear your feedback, either on this topic or (especially for bugs) please use the feedback link provided at the bottom of the page on the site to access our feedback forum.

So without further delay, here's the link... please check it out!




  • Thanks cash! It would not have been possible without all your hard work on elgg, we stand on the shoulders of giants.

    We're not properly going public just yet but I wanted the elgg community to be the first to know about it.


  • Nice work Chris! I had a problem to login through facebook: duplicate entry for key username. I had to use another account.

  • Thanks very much for the bug report Pedro, I think that problem applied to users who were not already in our database, and I think hopefully it is fixed now... please can you try again with the original account and let me know if it is working now?

    Thanks again for the feedback!


  • Is this legal? or against facebook's policy?

    I disabled my facebook account nearly 4 years ago, I can't even google myself anymore. And my profile picture is on your site? Also when you say 'login to claim it' that really means the person is registering and giving the site some sort of consent to use the data?

    Sorry if I just jumped.

  • @seth101 I read Facebook's privacy policy and terms and no, it is not legal. You are the owner of your facebook profile, if you want to delete everything you can, there is actually no reason why your profile is on another website database. No one can "claim it" 


    There are two ways to handle this: Either talk to the admin of that website or take some legal action.



  • Hi Seth,

    This is entirely legal and in accordance with relevant policies and terms. There are two ways you can create a profile on the profile engine and you must have used either one or the other:

    1. You ticked a box in your facebook privacy settings saying 'Allow third party search engines to index my public profile' and some other boxes to choose what info goes on your public profile. The profile engine is a search engine which has been specifically authorised and whitelisted by Facebook to index, search and display public search profiles of users who have given this consent. Facebook do not notify us if a profile has been deleted or modified so once we have indexed it you must update (or delete) it independently on the profile engine.

    2. You may have submitted a profile directly to us specifically for the profile engine (also known as the 'advanced search' application on Facebook). All of our Facebook applications offer you the chance to create a profile engine profile and confirm that you want to make it public and searchable.

    Unlike other search engines and unlike Facebook we DO allow you to delete all your infomation very easily if you don't want your profile engine profile any more - read the profile engine help page (link at the bottom of the page) for more info and for the delete profile link.

    If your facebook profile is indexed in the profile engine then it is probably also indexed in Bing, Google and other search engines, none of which allow you to easily delete it. We give users complete control over their data, unlike any other search engine.

    I hope this has clarified your concerns. 

    rjcalifornia - All of this information was provided on the help page of the site so you should be a little more careful before jumping to conclusions and misleading others. We control our own data and in general the Facebook privacy policy does not apply to it, however our own privacy policy is displayed on our site and we believe we give users a great deal more control over their data, much more easily than Facebook do.

    Public profile data is exactly that - public. It belongs not to Facebook nor to us but to the people who created it and they are free to delete or update it on the profile engine any time they want.

  • PS. 'Login to claim it' simply means we need a login to identify you as the genuine owner of your profile so that you can modify it.

  • a difference exists between legal and lawful.
    legal is 'what men with wigs claim is true'.
    lawful is 'the truth they try and hide'.

    and even then lawfulness is not sufficient.

    suffice to say, this site will not be popular unless there is a simple way provided to remove the profile and login; i was also not able to login and remove the profile.
    to be honest it just inspires me to remove my profile from facebook, rather than 'expand the community'.

    hmm.. to the delete button. 

  • i am thinking that the site is no longer in development, most of the functions are broken or incomplete.

  • Profile Engine has no right to get users facebook profiles. That's a violation of user's privacy and that website is breaking the law. Facebook is very explicit, no one can retrieve a person's data without its prior permission, read the API guidelines.

Feedback and Planning

Feedback and Planning

Discussions about the past, present, and future of Elgg and this community site.