Facebook's new dating app brings a whole new meaning to "Facebook official"
On September 5th, Facebook announced it is entering the online dating world. With its new service, called Facebook Dating, the social media site is now going up against a host of dating app giants, including Tinder, Bumble, Grindr, and Hinge. Although it’s obvious that Facebook has the tools to go head-to-head with these dating apps, we’re not too sure that it should.
Facebook Dating, available to Facebook users aged 18 and older, can currently be accessed through the Facebook mobile app. But don’t worry—just because you have the app doesn’t mean you’ve already been signed up for the service. Users must opt in and create a totally different profile than their current Facebook one.
According to Vox, Facebook Dating does not show your Facebook friends, and it also allows you to remove friends of friends from potential matches in order to make things a bit less awkward. Further, Facebook Dating users can also block specific people from seeing their Dating profile, which is great news for people who are FB friends with their parents’ pals. (Yikes times a thousand.)
Living in the wake of the 2018 Cambridge Analytica data breach has made many people nervous about the idea of Facebook tapping into the online dating market.
Facebook Dating seems like another easy avenue for data junkies to make off with even more personal information from Facebook users.
In July, Facebook settled with the Federal Trade Commission and paid a $5 billion penalty over its privacy issues. And an FTC antitrust investigation is currently ongoing.
So, why should users trust that Facebook won’t shell out their information to advertisers from this new dating app venture?
Well, to put it bluntly, they really shouldn’t. Facebook Dating is so new that the company isn’t yet putting advertisements on it, nor is it charging a subscription fee. Therefore, as of right now, Facebook isn’t making money from Facebook Dating.
But having watched Tinder rake in boatloads of cash with its ads and Tinder Gold feature, we can only assume that Facebook will follow suit and offer a similar pay-to-play service that lets advertisers hang out on the platform. And when advertisers are invited to the party, the privacy issue gets murky.
Although users create new, separate profiles for Facebook Dating, Facebook still has access to all the information listed on your Facebook page. This means that while you may not have included your school on your Dating profile, the app may match you with a fellow alum, as TechCrunch reports.
Of course, it’s up to Facebook users to decide if they want to take the plunge and test out the Dating app. The ability to block specific people from seeing your profile puts Facebook Dating ahead of its competition, but the platform’s dark history with privacy issues may hold it back from succeeding in the market.
Are you going to give Facebook Dating a go, or is Facebook as a whole a dinosaur of a social media site? If we start getting invites to Facebook Dating weddings, we’re going to flip.