What has happened?

Facebook has launched its new Dating service in the US, to be followed with an imminent Australian release. The new offering is accessible within a separate tab in the Facebook mobile app, and will require a separate dating profile to be created. Once made, the Facebook algorithm then suggests and links the user with potential matches based on factors such as location, shared interests, events, and groups, and other data points. The app ensures your Facebook friends are not match suggestions, and you can remove friends of friends from potential matches to avoid any potentially embarrassing match suggestions. Going one step further than most dating apps, It also aims to personalise and deepen the dating app experience, displaying full profiles rather than an image, and with a longer-term plan to feed user Facebook and Instagram stories into the profiles, to show what potential matches are up to and create a “real life” experience

The Media Store Take

Whilst Facebook’s clearest advantage is the huge volume (approximately 221 million) of its U.S. subscriber database, so far responses to the service have been mixed. One aspect already getting negative attention is that it lets a user interact with another without a need of “matching”, meaning any user can potentially comment on another member’s profile.

There are still many obvious concerns around  Facebook data, transparency and its track record of protecting a user’s information and privacy; its Dating app asks to potentially collect even more personal information about us than ever before.

Building back trust in the Platform should be Facebook’s main focus, and one can interpret this foray into the personal world of online dating as being tone-deaf to recent concerns from Government, advertisers, and the media industry alike.

Richard Lowe