This undated product image provided by Facebook shows screenshots from Facebook Dating, a mobile-only matchmaking service. On Thursday, September 5, 2019, the service will launch in the United States | Image courtesy of Facebook via The Associated Press, St. George News
SAN FRANCISCO (AP) – Facebook is tackling a new frontier: love.
Facebook Dating, a matchmaking service the company already offers in Brazil, Canada and 17 other countries, arrives in the United States on Thursday.
While many of the features are similar to those offered by other matchmaking services, Facebook’s version promises to be different, just as Tinder brought the swipe and Bumble brought priority messages to women. Your Facebook Dating profile will be separate from your main profile, but it will allow you to tap into your network of friends to identify “secret crushes”.
Facebook Dating, a free, ad-free mobile-only service, can still help Facebook make money if it keeps people glued to its other services longer. This is if users can overcome concerns about privacy.
“A feature on Facebook that people don’t trust is not going to be a success,” said Rob Sherman, deputy director of privacy for the company. “We built privacy from scratch.”
Seth Carter, 32, an engineer from Terre Haute, Indiana, tried a multitude of dating apps ranging from Match to Bumble, Tinder and Christian Mingle before his current relationship.
“Facebook is here to make money and I understand that,” he said. But he’s worried that Facebook’s stated commitment to privacy will eventually give way under pressure to make money with the service. “This probably means that they are going to sell my dating preferences, which means even more intrusion into my life.”
Facebook says it won’t do any of these. But users like Carter can hardly be blamed for their apprehension, given the company’s multiple stumbling blocks to protecting people’s private information. Facebook was fined a record $ 5 billion this summer by the Federal Trade Commission for breach of privacy. He is also coming under scrutiny for allowing the spread of election-related misinformation and discrimination in real estate listings in the United States.
Facebook Dating comes as the popularity of online dating grows: In 2016, 15% of all American adults reported using online dating services, up from virtually none in 2005, according to the Pew Research Center.
The market is crowded. From old-school sites like eHarmony to Hinge or The League, a members-only service promising to bring people together with “the ambition and the will to succeed,” there are also apps focused on farmers, religious groups, the elderly, the LGBT community, etc. to.
When he announced the feature last year, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg said Facebook Dating is “not just for connections” but for building “meaningful, long-term relationships.” It seemed like a direct hit on Tinder, a service best known for connecting people with people they find attractive by showing their photo, age, and first name.
With Facebook, you start by creating a dating profile that is separate from your Facebook profile. It’s easy to bring in details like your school and work, but you’re free to spruce up or hide it all just for Facebook Dating. You can also add up to 36 of your Instagram photos.
You must be at least 18 years old, rather than 13 with the main Facebook service. The service is not limited to those who have registered as “singles”.
Facebook Dating shows your age but hides your last name. When you see a match suggestion, you “like” someone by tapping a heart icon, or press “X” to dislike. You cannot search for friends by interests or other keywords, as you can with Match. You are limited to what Facebook suggests. Like with Tinder, you need to decide whether or not you like someone before you see the next game.
Facebook Dating will not suggest friends as a match, nor will your dating profile appear on your main news feed or be visible to your friends. Facebook insists it won’t use the information gleaned from your dating profiles for advertising and says there won’t be any ads on Facebook Dating.
Facebook won’t let lonely hearts – or creeps – send photos or links to websites, which could help reduce the number of unsolicited photos. For security, you can also share your location with friends while you have a date.
To help you meet offline and share your interests, the service will offer matches based on your existing Facebook groups and events. If you and a game are both going to a concert, you can plan to meet there. These options require you to turn them on intentionally.
Host hidden passions for your Facebook friends or Instagram followers? You can choose up to nine as a “secret crush”. You will both be notified if your crush is also on Facebook Dating and has chosen you as well. Otherwise, says Facebook, the crush remains secret.
Written by BARBARA ORTUTAY, Associated Press Technology Editor.
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