It was always about friends on Facebook. However, it is now also about passion. Facebook Dating, the company’s answer to Tinder, Coffee Meets Bagel, Bumble, and other dating applications, has launched in the United States. The new function combines Facebook’s networking technology and data to assist you in finding matches that are right for you.
It’s only natural that a dating site will be introduced by a company that knows you so well as Facebook. But, with all of its problems, including an ongoing antitrust investigation, do we really want Facebook to have a bigger role in our lives?
A separate app within your app
Facebook Dating is a feature of the Facebook app. Users must be 18 or older to use the extension, and they must opt-in and trigger their Dating profile – kids on Facebook won’t just stumble across a new dating app that allows them to meet suitors in town. It asks about your gender, who you’re interested in, a bunch of terms and conditions, and other privacy settings once you’ve enabled it. You may change your preferences for dating venue, distance from you, age, and height. You may also specify your religious views and whether or not you want your date to have children.
It’ll come as a surprise to learn that the Dating app is different from your regular Facebook app. It goes to great lengths to distinguish them: It requires you to build a whole new profile with all of the information you want to be displayed. It prevents your Facebook friends from appearing on your Dating profile, and it allows you to exclude friends of friends from future matches to avoid uncomfortable encounters. You may also ban those people from ever seeing your Facebook Dating profile.
How’s it different?
Facebook Dating, like Tinder, allows you to browse through endless cards of people looking for dates. You press on crosses and hearts instead of swiping. It also has a “second glance” feature that allows you to go back and replay matches you’ve already passed on. As you would imagine, Dating makes extensive use of its big brother’s vast database of data and features. The app will recommend other users based on events you’ve attended, things you’ve enjoyed, and groups you’ve followed on your primary account.
Secret Crush is a unique feature that allows you to build a list of people from your Facebook friends and Instagram followers. They’ll be told if anyone has a “crush” on them if they ever enter Dating. If they add you to their “crush” list, you’ll be paired right away, as if to speed up the dating process. Aside from this one time, Facebook promises not to disclose your crushes – you can have up to nine if you’re picky! fFacebook is hell-bent on making the matching process go as quickly as possible. Despite not “matching,” the app allows you to connect with other users by allowing you to comment on their profile pictures. This might quickly become irritating.
However, it has boldly limited how freely users can use its chat rooms. Only text and GIFs are included in chats. On Facebook Dating, no connections, pictures, payments, or videos can be exchanged. These limitations are a harsh response to porn-bot spam, unwanted images, and other scams that have made dating apps popular. This is a bold move that has the potential to make dating apps a healthier environment. It has a reputation for being a forum for predatory behavior and for promoting a hook-up culture.
Should we trust Facebook dating?
What do we do first? On the surface, Facebook Dating seems to prioritize user autonomy and privacy. You’ll find that, unlike Tinder and other apps, Facebook Dating doesn’t allow you to take screenshots (though nothing prevents you from grabbing a friend’s phone and snapping a snapshot of your screen). When it comes to dating, you’ll be asked if you’re okay with matching with “friends of friends.” Then you begin to scratch under the surface and notice that it is not entirely translucent.
The way algorithms are designed to make these suggestions is causing quite a stir in the world of targeted ads and other types of AI recommendations. What details does Facebook Dating use to pair you with Dennis from Texas, for example? We should expect Facebook Dating to be just as good at recommending friends you may know as Facebook has been at recommending friends you may know. While you can allow matching with profiles from mutual friends, former colleges, and communities, Facebook says it will still consider this information when making recommendations.
The difference is that once you make this knowledge official, your matches will be unaware of it. These specifics are only used to feed the pairing algorithm. This is still a heavily “red-flagged” organization, despite its lack of accountability. When it comes to protecting users’ knowledge and privacy, Facebook has a poor track record. Facebook recently admitted to revealing 419 million phone numbers in an open online database that was not password protected. A glitch on Instagram in June 2018 made 14 million users’ private posts public. Is it even necessary to mention Cambridge Analytica?
Facebook has a serious privacy issue. Facebook Dating has the ability to gather personal information about us on a never-before-seen scale. On the troublesome platform, one’s romantic interests, emotions, vulnerabilities, fetishes, and mistakes are all displayed. Can we really trust Facebook with information on who we want if they can’t keep our phone numbers safe?