I’ve dabbled in dating apps throughout college. They were a fun way to meet people, make friends and start relationships that lasted anywhere from a dinner conversation to multiple years.
As the cycle usually went, I’d make an account, try to find halfway decent pictures and think up a witty bio, swipe around, talk to a few people and meet a few more before getting bored and deleting my account. I liked that I could erase everything. I know that if I actually asked one of these apps for my info, I’d get a creepy amount of information. But at least my information seems to be safe.
Weeks after apologizing to Congress for the Cambridge Analytica scandal, where about 87 million users’ data was acquired by a political data firm hired by Donald Trump’s 2016 election campaign, Mark Zuckerberg announced that Facebook is planning to offer an online dating service. Please don’t.
Facebook wants to buy Instagram? That’s cool. WhatsApp? Okay. They want to copy Snapchat features into Instagram to compete? That’s fair. But the last thing I need is to get push notifications about matching with people the way I get push notifications about people I might be interested in becoming friends with.
This would be the equivalent of my friend asking me out after sharing an embarrassing secret I told them in hopes of secrecy. You need to build up my trust again before I would be willing to consider getting into a relationship that requires a higher level of trust and vulnerability.
Since I opened my current Facebook account, I’ve gotten hateful messages, links to propaganda videos and creepy “flirtatious” messages from random people I’m not friends with. At least on an app like Tinder, if I unmatch, they only have my first name to look for me. The Facebook app will match based on elements like groups you’re both a part of or events you’ve both attended.
I also don’t want to see that part of the college or young adult experience Facebook-ized. I love that there’s a dating app that matches people based on mutual hatred. I appreciate the different feel between Bumble and Tinder. The laziest way for me to find possible dates for myself is through Jswipe, an app that takes Jewish religious preferences into account when matching. I haven’t really gotten into Shapr, the dating-app-style networking app. Facebook will turn all of this into a blob.
Now, Facebook is a strong and wealthy company. There’s a possibility that they could figure out a way to do this all appropriately. But it feels like the overwhelming strategy at Facebook is to either buy out the competition or copy it poorly while being an easier app or website to use overall. Dating apps already play on my laziness by introducing me to people without me having to leave my bed. There’s a line I should draw somewhere.
I like that when I find someone I connect with, I can delete whichever app I’m using and start heavily investing in my relationships. I don’t think a Facebook dating app would be conducive to that at all. Let me spend some time away from Facebook.
I will say, the best thing to come out of this was Joey Levin, chief executive of InterActiveCorp, which owns match.com, saying in a statement, “Their product could be great for U.S./Russia relationships.”