Facebook announced its dating service in May 2018, and has since launched it in over a dozen countries. On Thursday, the United States became the 20th country to have access to Facebook Dating service. Now anyone with a Facebook account who is 18 years or older can set up a dating profile within the main Facebook app.
The social networking giant said in a blog post that your dating profile will be separate from your main profile. The dating service will only pull your first name and age from the Facebook account. Once you have set up your dating profile, you’ll receive suggestions for other users who have also opted in to the service.
The suggestions could include friends of your friends, people from outside your friend circle, or both. Facebook Dating won’t suggest you users from your own friend list unless both of you are using the “Secret Crush” function and you are on each other’s list. The Secret Crush feature indicates crushes among Facebook friends and Instagram followers to see if the feelings are mutual.
You can sign up for the dating service irrespective of your relationship status on Facebook. However, suspicious profiles and those that have violated community standards won’t be able to access the matchmaking service. You can set preferences based on age, height, distance, religion, and other factors. It also lets you block specific users.
Unlike Tinder, Facebook Dating doesn’t use the swipe functionality to express your interest in a profile. If you are interested in someone, you can hit the “Like” button or comment on their profile to let them know. If the match is not mutual, users can choose to pass on the other individual.
For now, Facebook Dating’s messaging feature allows you to send only text messages. You can’t share links, photos, or send payments. The social networking giant said the feature is designed to be “safe, inclusive, and opt-in.”
A Facebook Dating product manager told CNN Business that inappropriate photos and videos could ruin people’s dating experiences. The company wants people to build trust (yeah, Facebook just talked about trust) with a match before taking the conversation to other messaging services like Facebook Messenger and WhatsApp.
The matchmaking service also allows users to share the details and location of an upcoming date with someone they trust.
Facebook Dating also gives you the option to integrate your dating profile with Facebook and Instagram. You can add Instagram followers to the Secret Crush feature. Users can also opt-in to share their Facebook and Instagram photos to the Dating profile. In the coming months, it will also add the ability to share your Facebook and Instagram Stories to the Dating profile.
Should you trust Facebook Dating?
You reveal your most personal details on a dating platform. Facebook already knows a lot about you, and the dating service will allow it to capture your most intimate data that it doesn’t already have on you.
The social networking giant has promised that the dating service won’t show ads or charge you a subscription fee. So, is Facebook launching a matchmaking service just to spread love, expecting nothing in return?
That’s very unlike Facebook. The company might not show you ads on the Dating profile, but it could use your intimate data to serve you targeted ads in the main Facebook news feed. Some people might have no problem with ads.
But Facebook has given you dozens of compelling reasons in the last few years not to trust it with your data. Just a few weeks ago, the US Federal Trade Commission slapped a $5 billion penalty on Facebook for failing to protect user privacy and live up to its own commitments.
The Cambridge Analytica scandal brought the social media giant’s privacy practices to the limelight. It told more than two billion users that Facebook can’t be trusted with their data. Earlier this week, TechCrunch reported that Facebook exposed more than 419 million records, including 133 million on its US users.
In the last few years, there have been at least half a dozen incidents of Facebook data breaches, including the company “unintentionally” uploading the email addresses of over a million new users. Do you really trust Facebook with all the fears, anxieties, sexual preferences, secret crushes, rejections, dates, and other details of your dating life?