That’s right, social media giant Facebook is introducing a new ‘Dating’ feature to cater to the 200 million users listed as single. Chief Executive Mark Zuckerberg said that the feature is focused on creating long-term, emotional relationships, not just one-night stands. While this is bad news for other sites already operating in the $3 billion market of online dating, it could be good news for singles everywhere.
So, what’s the appeal? Firstly, Facebook is the most established social network on the planet and is used by billions of people, meaning there are many, many fish in this cyber sea. Most of us have become familiar with it, which could appeal to many users who would consider online dating but don’t want to go to the effort of learning to use a whole new app or site.
Here’s what we know. You’ll have a profile, separate to your usual Facebook profile, consisting of your first name, some photos and some details about you. You’ll be shown potential matches based on mutual friends, dating preferences and things you share in common. You’ll also have the ability to reveal your profile to other users who will be attending the same events as you, so you can scope out the other singles you might meet. We don’t know exactly when the dating feature will be released, and we don’t know if we’ll be asked to pay for the service, but they will begin testing it this year.
If you’re tired of family and friends pestering you about your dating situation, the feature can be kept private, so no one needs to know you’re looking for a relationship. Even people with whom you’re friends on Facebook and are also using the feature won’t see you as a suggestion, so the fear of people you know see your face pop-up is eliminated.
Mr Zuckerberg has been in trouble recently for harvesting the data of millions of users, so Facebook now encouraging us to share even more personal and romantic information with them is deeply ironic. However, as they have access to our profiles, what we’ve liked, what we’ve said in our ‘private’ messages and the kinds of people we’re close with, Facebook has the potential to be a very accurate match maker.
We might not mind the data mining so much if it helps us find love. The question is, how much of this information will they be using to select the people they recommend to us? Or is this just going to be another shallow appearance-based repeat of Tinder?
Will you try Facebook dating?