Facebook’s dating app, which was announced at the corporation’s F8 Conference in May, 2018, has just rolled out to all of the U.S. For those who are currently swimming around in the dating pool—which is hopefully heavily chlorinated—the app is probably both a cause for excitement and caution. Facebook has, in most cases, more data on more people than any other site out there after all, but will that translate into flawless matches or jettisoning the most private details of your love life out into the public?
Before looking at the safety concerns with Facebook’s dating app, let’s talk about how it works. First of all, you need to be at least 18 years old to use it and the only way to set it up is through the Facebook app. The app can’t be downloaded on its own and it can’t be used solely in conjunction with Instagram. In order to open the dating app, you go to the bottom-right menu button of the Facebook app. Between the options for your profile and friends should be an option for Dating. Next to the option is a stylized heart icon, which kind of looks like it’s empty (just saying).
It takes the completion of only a few simple steps to put your dating profile out there. For example, the app asks you to select your gender identity and the gender identity of potential romantic options, as well as which profile pictures you’d like to use initially. The whole setup process takes about a minute if you’re fine with the default images and profile information (which includes your name, age, job, etc.), and seems to be more or less an emulation of Tinder’s setup process.
Once you have your profile activated, Facebook will begin suggesting potential matches for you based on, according to Facebook’s press release, “things you have in common, like interests, events and groups.” Which sounds like Facebook will have some kind of algorithms working in the background trying to figure out who belongs with whom based on large datasets of behavioral patterns. You can also adjust your dating location, circumference in which to find matches, and gender identity, age range, and height preference of matches. Facebook defaults to only recommending friends of friends and people completely outside of your circle.
One of the most unique features is the Secret Crush function, which allows you to select up to nine of your Facebook friends or Instagram followers as potential secret interests. With Secret Crush, you’ll only find out if somebody else is interested in you if you both add each other to your respective Secret Crush lists. If you don’t match or if your crush doesn’t have the app, the other party will never be informed of your liking them. On top of Secret Crush, you can also comment directly on people’s dating profiles, or simply “like” them.
As far as safety is concerned, it seems like Facebook is going out of its way to assure users that it’s not going to share dating data in any way with their main Facebook profile pages. Facebook dating is opt-in only, and users will have the ability to block or report anybody. The app also apparently prohibits people from sending links, videos, photos, or payments, which puts it at somewhat of a functional disadvantage to other dating apps. This should greatly cut down on the exchange of unwanted content, however.
Facebook also noted in a post specifically outlining the safety features of the dating app that you can provide different information on your dating app profile from the information you have on your regular profile. None of the actions you take on the dating app will appear in your Facebook feed, and you are in control of which Facebook users can see your dating profile. Your Facebook friends also won’t know whether or not you’ve signed up for the dating app; your dating profile will only be visible to people who’ve been suggested to you or vice versa, or to secret crushes who’ve liked you back. In terms of data collection and usage, Facebook says that your dating activity, which includes information like who you’ve liked or passed on, won’t be shared with anybody outside of the app.
If you’re in the US and 18+, you can sign up for a Facebook Dating profile today and match with people who have similar interests – or use Secret Crush to match with people you already know on Facebook and Instagram ? pic.twitter.com/QWHbhXHFq7
— Facebook (@facebook) September 5, 2019
Users will also be able to connect their Instagram accounts to their Facebook dating profiles, although the ability to share stories won’t come until later this year. Facebook says the ability to share Instagram stories will give people’s profiles a more lively feeling relative to those on other dating apps, although it seems like, overall, Facebook dating is basically Tinder 2.0.
What do you think of the idea of Facebook dating? Are you champing at the bit to find your secret crushes or are you wary of giving Facebook any more of your personal information? Let us know in the comments!
Featured Image: Facebook