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Facebook Dating is now available in the U.S., and even though it is a separate app from Facebook, it still somehow – isn’t separate at all. Privacy advocates say users are likely better off meeting potential love interests on other apps.
It seems that Facebook realized that money can’t buy you love so, without further due, after getting in the cryptosphere with its Libra, it decided to tackle all users hearts launching its long-awaited dating feature.
If you’re in the US and 18+, you can sign up for a Facebook Dating profile today and match with people who have similar interests – or use Secret Crush to match with people you already know on Facebook and Instagram 😉 pic.twitter.com/QWHbhXHFq7
— Meta (@Meta) September 5, 2019
As its CEO Mark Zuckerberg wrote on his wall:
“One of my favorite things about building Facebook is I can walk through almost any city in the world and people will stop and tell me stories about how they met their husband or wife through Facebook. It’s a great feeling. And until recently, Facebook didn’t even have any features to help with dating.
Starting today, we’re launching Facebook Dating in the US. I’m excited to see how it’ll help people come together and find love around interests, groups and events in common. We’ve worked with privacy and security experts from the beginning to make it safe and give you control over your experience. Facebook Dating is now live in 20 countries and I’m looking forward to launching more soon.”
So, Facebook Dating is now available in the U.S., and even though it is a separate app from Facebook, it still somehow – isn’t separate at all.
You could be thinking that this is just another Facebook’s try to collect more on our online social lives, forcing out dating apps like Tinder Match or OK Cupid, with “dating” as just another feature in Facebook’s portfolio, and you may even be right. However, it seems that this is a relatively solid case where the features are driven by already existing behavior: Facebook and Instagram users already employ the platforms as temporary dating services, so the idea of making this easier isn’t really that bad.
Facebook was uncompromising in its claims that Dating profile will be separate from a user’s main FB profile: Friends will not be shown as potential matches (even though we don’t see why not), and you can block people as well. However it seems that every part of the service is integrated with Facebook’s other properties, that offers more personal data for Facebook to potentially target users with ads. New strategy, same old goal.
A Facebook spokesperson of course said that data harvested through the Dating feature would not be used for ad-targeting purposes. However, to be honest – this app will make people want to use parts of Facebook that do collect info.
Yeah, I definitely want to give Facebook Dating access to my "Secret Crushes" and the last bit of personal, intimate data they haven't already collected on me. What's not to trust?https://t.co/NIUmWIZUch
— Alex Berg (@itsalexberg) September 5, 2019
For example, moderators of Facebook Groups will be able to join with the Dating section, allowing single people with shared interests to find one another.
Facebook product manager Nathan Sharp explained that a group admin can essentially create a singles’ chatroom within an existing Facebook Group.
Similarly, users can import their Instagram photos and Stories and also, there is a new feature called Secret Crush. When you appoint some Facebook friend or Instagram follower you have a crush on, if they add you back, Facebook will notify both parties,or as Sharp said, users will get “probably one of the best notifications of their life”. He also added that Facebook Dating is free and contains no ads or in-app purchases.
“We didn’t want to include anything around swiping or games. Facebook Dating is about conversations.”
Facebook Dating seems to be making a great deal of protecting users’ safety: you can tap a shield icon to share details of an upcoming live date with a friend or family member using Facebook Messenger, as well as temporarily sharing your live location.
On the other hand:
“Although we have the right at any time to conduct criminal background checks or sex offender register searches, you should not expect that we will do so.”
If you meet someone on #FacebookDating and get killed, FB is not liable. pic.twitter.com/JSeVrAZdvx
— Kristen Ruby (@sparklingruby) September 5, 2019
With today’s launch, Facebook Dating is now available in 20 countries. In addition to the United States, it’s now live in Brazil, Canada, Chile, Columbia, Ecuador, Guyana, Laos, Malaysia, Mexico, Paraguay, Peru, Philippines, Singapore, Suriname, Thailand, Uruguay, and Vietnam.
As for Europe, the users will have to wait until the next year.
All in all, this doesn’t seem like a badly made app at all. However, if we look at the company whose main objective is to collect personal information and monetize it, then the problem lays in the fact that Facebook Dating is made by, well, Facebook. And also, would you really tell the name of your secret crush to a friend who shared your phone number and other information around? We thought so.