Regardless of our thoughts on online dating, the reality is that technology is shaking things up. Name your style, scene, or clique and there’s probably a dating app to perfectly suit you. From the free-for-all world of Tinder and girls’ favorite Bumble to the men-seeking-men platform Grindr and the relationship finder Hinge, online dating apps offer endless possibilities.
And now Facebook will be swooping into the online dating game ready to take what it already knows about you to get you more fitting matches. The dating feature will be ad-free, opt-in, and invisible to existing Facebook friends so you can, hopefully, date without a spotlight on your social media. The messaging feature will be private and unlinked to other existing chat apps. Additionally, Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg claims the dating feature will be intended for people seeking “meaningful” relationships only. But whether people use for that purpose is a completely different story.
The announcement comes as a big surprise soon after the Cambridge Analytica security breach scandal, which caused Facebook to bleed time and resources in regaining the public’s trust. The scandal caused Facebook to lose $134 billion in market value, which it has since managed to earn back. Nevertheless, the company is still facing dozens of lawsuits for data misuse.
Before the announcement of the dating feature, Zuckerberg spent two days being questioned by Congress and has very much been in the public eye giving interviews and public statements taking responsibility for the scandal. However, he claims this new dating venture will be different and the feature is being designed with users’ privacy rights as a priority.
“I know a lot of you are going to have questions about this. We’ve designed this with privacy and safety in mind from the beginning,” said Zuckerberg at Facebook’s annual developers’ conference, F8. Existing dating apps like Tinder already use Facebook as a login option along with all of a user’s Facebook information to build a profile. With this new feature, Facebook would just be cutting out the middleman.
While an exact release date is still unknown, Facebook is expected to roll out its new feature by the end of the year.
Whether you prefer to swipe right, double-tap, send a message, or super-like, there’s no question ‘Facebook dating’ will provide an important option for those actively seeking to date. However, as more and more tech companies join in on the online dating fun, it seems the real challenge won’t be deciding among dating app options, but whether you trust the app you’re are getting involved with.