Everyday social media websites are rolling out new features that people ask for and some no one wanted.
Facebook has two new features in the works, currently. An option to clear browsing history on the site (why wasn’t there one already?) and the announcement of a Facebook-sanctioned dating service.
Yes, Facebook is joining the ranks of Tinder, Bumble and OkCupid. Mark Zuckerberg, CEO and founder of Facebook, revealed the plans for the dating service on Tuesday at Facebook’s annual F8 conference.
“There are 200 million people on Facebook that list themselves as single, so clearly there’s something to do here,” Zuckerberg said.
But is this a good idea? Facebook is fresh off the heels of the Cambridge Analytica scandal, and this almost feels like another way for Steve Bannon types to mine metadata about U.S. citizens.
Zuckerberg claimed Facebook was building the service with an emphasis on privacy. Privacy is important for people who use dating websites, and also a sensitive subject for Facebook as the company tries to rebuild after its last privacy scandal.
But is it really worth it? Is a Facebook-based dating service what the world truly needs right now?
Facebook once led the pack in social media sites; now it has trickled to the back of the forefront. Reports from the site in January stated that at the end of 2017, time spent by users had fallen by about 50 million hours a day.
And that was before the scandal!
This all just seems like a ploy to get more users on the platform and build back up to peak network traffic.
Facebook said in a statement that potential matches on this ingrained service will be recommended based on dating preferences, things in common and mutual friends.
But what do they mean by things in common? Are they referring to the thousands of “liked” pages every user has? If so, Facebook needs to reevaluate how people have been using their site. Most people who have been using the same Facebook account for multiple years know that at one point, they sat down and just liked hundreds, if not thousands, of pages. Some had funny titles that were “relatable” or were once vaguely related to any interest.
Facebook edging into this market also seems suspicious as the site has made deals with Tinder and Bumble where users must have a Facebook account to use those apps. Where will Facebook stand with these competitors?
While Facebook promises that privacy is its utmost concern, it still seems untrustworthy. This new service just feels like a ploy to up its user count and not a stride forward in helping users find love.
Until Facebook can prove it’s serious about our privacy, this in-app service is going to have to be a hard pass.