Tired of Tinder? Bored of Bumble? Good news, there’s a new dating app coming soon that you don’t even have to download yourself, because it’s already attached to your Facebook account. Yes, Facebook is launching an opt-in dating service that looks to create ‘meaningful relationships’. How? By connecting you to people on the app that share your listed interests and basic information.
The feature is launching ‘soon’ and will rival online dating giants like Tinder and OkCupid. However, it comes in the wake of their Cambridge Analytica scandal that saw 87 million user’s privacy breached and led to Mark Zuckerberg being grilled by Congress for two days. It’s because of this that many people deleted their accounts, but will the dating service pull them back onto the app?
Probably not. There is little trust in how Facebook shares user’s information, not just with advertisers but with our listed friends too. However, the company has reassured users that this new service will connect you with people outside your friends list, and they won’t be able to see your profile. Yet still, we have so many questions.
How does it work? Will I match someone who also liked ‘going to the Winchester, having a pint and waiting for this all to blow over’ in 2008? Do I have to ‘break up’ with the friend I ‘married’ in 2011? Well, we’ve set out to find ALL the answers, and probably try it out when it launches too.
How does it work?
If you’re listed as single, a heart icon will appear at the top right of your profile when the service launches. Click on it and enter your ‘dating home’ to set up a dating profile that APPARENTLY, your Facebook friends won’t be able to see.
From there, you can browse nearby events and groups that interest you, then unlock the event you’d like to attend. Your profile will be shared with everyone else going to that event, as will theirs with you, so you can browse the profiles of other people attending. A stalker's dream.
If you find someone interesting, you can then start a private conversation, although it will be text only as a ‘safety measure’. The chats are separate from Facebook messaging and WhatsApp. According to Chris Cox, Facebooks chief product officer, ‘it mirrors the way people actually date, which is usually at events and institutions that they're connected to’.
What does this mean for Tinder and Bumble?
Both of these apps currently source their profile information from Facebook, which is why when Facebook changed its privacy restrictions for third-party apps many Tinder users couldn’t access the app. However, the problem was resolved and you can still currently access the apps using your Facebook profile. Whether or not that will change in future remains to be seen, however what is clear is that Facebook already has access to tons of our personal interests thanks to all of those pages we liked when we were 12 and those dreaded cookies.
While many are convinced this dating service signals the end of Tinder and Bumble, the competitors don’t currently clash as Facebook dating targets an older audience, 54% of Facebook users are 35+.
However, the move has been seen as a way to bring young people back onto the app after #DeleteFacebook trended last month. Whether it succeeds in this aim is dubious.
What are the biggest downfalls?
Apart from letting Facebook dictate your dating life, having already allegedly sold your private information that was then used to fiddle elections, the biggest concern with Facebook dating is whether it be as private as you would want. Given the company’s lack of transparency over Cambridge Analytica, there’s not much hope. Plus, the platform already fails to deal with bullying and harassment effectively, which this could dramatically worsen.
What are the best reasons to opt-in?
The chance to find true love maybe? Honestly, the only upside to using this over Tinder seems to be that there’s an ice-breaker if you do see someone you fancy at an event. ‘Hey, didn’t I scroll past you on Facebook dating?’ is a pretty easy line. Yet, that also means those people you scrolled past for good reason could also give you that exact like. If it elicits more IRL conversations with people, then we’re all for it, but as it stands it could just be another app to swipe yes on and then ignore forever.