Facebook has launched a new dating app and it’s got everyone scratching their heads.
Here’s the pitch – Facebook has gathered a huge amount of non-privacy related data on its users, interests and hobbies, the types of music you like and of course where you live – what a wonderful start! Now, Facebook Dating will let you leverage that data – and other people’s data – into the perfect match, hooray!
Except that, in case you’ve forgotten, Facebook has had quite a few issues with privacy and the collection of data. In fact, Facebook and Instagram have been quite open with the fact that they’ve been restricting access and changing API rules in order to stop any form of data scraping from partners and apps and systems that use Instagram and Facebook as part of their product. Now, Facebook is using the same data to connect people.
Importantly, the promise is that Facebook’s known you for ages so it knows you better than Tinder or whatever dating service you use. It can look at event sequences and mutual connections to find the right people. It also says that it can use your acquaintances and friends to find people in your circle, or just outside your circle, that might be a good fit.
This is based on Facebook not using any of the data that it says everyone else can’t use. There are additional privacy agreements of course, but how much access will that actually give Facebook Dating? We’ve learned that terms conditions and privacy statements mean very little when push comes to shove, so the business will have to do a lot of work to show it’s not delving too deeply into people’s personal affairs.
The service has only been around for a few days and strictly in the United States, so it’s a developing story.