Facebook has officially entered the dating world, albeit only in Colombia for the time being.
With one out of every three people dating online and a $1.3 billion online dating market, Facebook -- or any platform for that matter -- would have a tough time not taking advantage of the opportunity.
That, of course, raises the question: does Facebook want to be all things to all people?
It may well.
The social media platform may be drooling over the prospect of gaining more face time with Millennials who reportedly spend more than 10 hours a week using dating apps, not to mention getting back the ex-pats who left when Facebook’s privacy issues reared their ugly head earlier this year.
The company tries to straddle the fence between benefit for its users and benefit for its bottom line by pointing to research that says social media leads to social change. With scrutiny regarding privacy following Facebook everywhere it goes, a venture into online dating just adds more questionable breadcrumbs on that privacy path.
Facebook users are hesitant at best. More than half of Facebook users ages 18+ admit they’ve adjusted their privacy settings in the past year, according to a recent Pew Research Center survey.
“Facebook is pretty safe I think, but will a dating app make it sleazy?,” wrote one poster. Another chimed in with, “I am not entirely sure what I expect from this. Only good things… right?”
How Facebook’s dating app will function
Inside Facebook’s walls, its employees have purportedly been testing “Facebook Dating” for months. More like e-Harmony and Match.com, but less like Tinder, Facebook Dating is a simple I-like-you-and-you-like-me recipe, but with a couple of added flourishes.
For one, Facebook dating will allow users to create a separate “dating” profile. For another, the social media kingpin says the mobile version would offer a way for people attending events to make their profile visible in hopes of making a real-time connection.
If there’s any question that a Facebook dating app raises, it’s how to thwart stalking. Facebook is reportedly testing a dating feature in Colombia designed to curb the stalking element.
According to reports, the app’s developers have built in mechanisms that require users to tie messages to a piece of content which should cut down on trollers who have nothing more to offer than a cute pickup line, plus the added safety net that keeps users from following others who don’t respond in kind.
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