This week, Facebook launched a new main product game, assigning an algorithmic dating service within its walled garden as if it were perfectly normal behavior for an aging social network.
Insert your [dad dancing GIF of choice] here.  Facebook is very much like a mid-life crisis, as a veteran social network desperately seeks a new strategy to stay relevant in an era in which users of applications have moved from the social network to more limited ways of sharing, through private messages and / or groups of friends within messaging and sharing applications.
The Facebook status update has been usurped by Snapchat (and now Instagram) Story as the social currency of choice for the youngest users application. Of course, Facebook has the latest product too and has ruthlessly cloned Histories. But he hardly wants his flagship service simply to fade into the background as the old fart is actually in terms of the Internet age.
Not if you can reinvigorate the product with a new purpose, and so we come to online dating.  Facebook – or should it be & # 39; Agenda & # 39; now ?! – You are starting your dating experiment in Colombia, like your beta market. But the company clearly has ambitious plans to become a major global force in the increasingly popular online dating site: challenge veteran players such as eHarmony and OkCupid, as well as the new generation of more specialized dating companies, such as application directed by women. Bumble.
However, Zuckerberg is not trying to compete with online dating giant Tinder. That Facebook discards as a mere connection application, a subcategory with which it affirms that it does not want to have anything to do with it.
Rather expect to build something more like "meet friends of your friends who are also in carving in soaps / competitive dog grooming / extreme ironing" which, for example, the raw scourge in the facial clash of & # 39; Bang with Friends & # 39;. (This last was the experimental launch that tried, about six years ago, to combine Facebook and sex) before finally leaving a dating applications player based in Singapore, Paktor , that was never heard from again, or, well, not until Facebook decided to enter the dating game and reminded us all how we realized that.)
Mark Zuckerberg's company does not want to get involved Nothing obscene, though … Oh no, no, no! No sex, we are Facebook!
Facebook Dating has been carefully placed to avoid sounding like a sexual application.It is being whipped as a tasteful version of the game of online dating, with, for example, the application explicitly designed not to unite existing friends through a suggestive pairing (although you'll just have to wait until you do not) end up pairing algorithmically with any ex, which judging by Facebook's predilection for showing the "photographic memories" of the users of past material with exes may not work as well …). And there is no possibility of exchanging messages with mutual coincidences in case, well, something pornographic happens.
Facebook is famous for not being a fan of nudes. As expected, then, the dating application is also not fastened. Only text-based chat lines & # 39; good and outdated & # 39; (related to & # 39; good clean pieces of Facebook content & # 39; here, please.
If you feel moved to send a text message with a proposal of marriage in advance, feeling 100% trusting the skill of the data scientists of Facebook when reading tea leaves from social networks and taking out your partner of the future of the mix, their algorithms probably smile about it.
The company's line is that appointments will help you fulfill your new mission of fostering "time well spent", helping people forge more meaningful relationships thanks to the power of your network (and the data it absorbs).
This mission is certainly an update of the earlier and more basic interest of Facebook simply by trying to connect every human being on planet Earth with any other human on planet Earth in some kind of massive data oscillation orgy, regardless of the ethical and / or moral consequences (as Boz memorably wrote), as if he were trying to chan n the passion-loving spirit of Pasolini Salò . Or, well, a human centipede.
But that was then. These days, in the middle of adolescence, Facebook wants to be seen as an adult and a little valuable. Therefore, your version of quotes seems much more "marital material" than "casual encounters". Although, well, the products do not always have the same effect as their creators. Therefore, it might be necessary to screw your courage to the place where you stuck and hope that things do not turn south.
From the user's perspective, there is another side here as well. Due to the amount of luggage inevitably with Facebook today, the really hot question is whether some sensible person should let Mark Zuckerberg shoot Cupid's arrows in his name.
Famously, he could not distinguish the malicious propaganda of the Kremlin from the usual social networks like pictures of coffee with milk and pictures for babies, so what makes you think that he will be attentive to the subtle nuances of human chemistry?
Here are some reasons why we think you should stay as far away from Facebook flirting with quotes as you possibly can …
- It's another cynical data capture
Facebook's ad targeting business model depends on continuous tracking of people to function, which means you need your data to exist. In a nutshell: your privacy is the soul of Facebook. Therefore, the quotes are just a convenient appearance to place on top of another important data collection, as Facebook tries to find less disgusting ways to trace its way back and / or more deeply into people's lives. Connecting singles to cultivate "meaningful relationships" is the glitz of marketing that slips over your last invitation to ask people to forget the amount of private information they are giving you. Worse still, dating means that Facebook asks people to share more intimate and personal information than they could willingly disclose, again with a company whose business model depends on tracking everything they do, on or offline, inside your walled garden or outside it. the widest web, and if Facebook is a user or not.
This also happens at a time when users of the social network of the same name on Facebook have shown signs of Facebook fatigue and even change the way they use the service after a chain of major privacy scandals. Therefore, Facebook dating also seems destined to work as a new distraction: try to divert attention from its detractors and prevent more scales from falling from the eyes of the users. The company wants to reflect growing skepticism about commercial models of advertising targeting with heart-shaped algorithmic promises.
However, the underlying true passion remains Facebook's ardent desire to continue extracting money from its private bits and bytes.
- Facebook's hostility story of privacy shows that you just can not trust
Facebook also has a very long story of being downright hostile to privacy – that includes deliberate change of configurations to make previously private configurations public (a regulatory intervention has been required to reject that ratchet), so your claim, with Dating, is to group the data in a completely separate segment, and also that the information shared for this service will not be used to give more details to the user profiles or to address people with advertisements in other parts of their empire should be dealt with extreme skepticism .
Facebook also said that the user data of WhatsApp woul was not mixed and combined with Facebook user data, and, uh, look what ended up happening there …!
———————– ———-> And then there's the Facebook record of allowing application developers to pull data from users of their platform, including (for years and years) "friend data." That almost sounded cozy. But the Facebook Friend Data API meant that an individual Facebook user could extract their data without even accepting the Td of a particular application. Which is part of the reason why the personal information of the users has ended all over the place, and in all kinds of unusual places. (Facebook does not apply its own policies, and the implementation of features that could be systematically abused to absorb user data are among many other reasons.)
The long and short history of Facebook and privacy is information that is It gives for a purpose has ended up being used for all kinds of other things, things that probably do not even know half. Even Facebook does not know what is the reason why it is participating in a major historical audit of applications at this time. However, this same company now wants you to tell intimate details about your sexual and romantic preferences. Uhhhh, keep that thought, really.
- Facebook already owns most of the online attention: why do you give more importance to the company? Especially as dating singles already have incredibly diverse app options …
In the West there is virtually no escape from Facebook Inc. Not if you want to be able to use the social sharing tools that your friends are using. Network effects are tremendously powerful for that reason, and Facebook has not only a popular and dominant social network but a large number of them, since it also bought Instagram and WhatsApp (plus some others that it bought and just closed, closing those options alternatives). But online dating, as it is currently, offer a welcome respiro from Facebook.
It is not accidental that the area without Facebook is so well served with startups and services that cater to all kinds of types and tastes. There are dating apps for black singles; pairing services for Muslims; several for Jews; many applications of Christian dating; at least one dating service to unite Asians ex-pat; another for Chinese-Americans; gay dating apps for women; gay dating apps for men (and, of course, gay dating apps), to name just a few; there are dating apps that offer games to generate matches; applications that depend on chance and location to rub strangers through lost connections; applications that allow you to try live video chats with possible matches; And, of course, there is no shortage of algorithmic dating applications. There are no singles who feel lonely for dating applications, that's for sure.
So, why should humanity give up this space of "strange interaction" very rich, fertile and creative, which caters to singles of all kinds and fantasy, a giant of the network: just so Facebook can expand your existing monopoly on the attention of people?
Why reduce the luxury of the election to further increase the Facebook business? If Facebook Dating became popular, it would inexorably distance attention from the alternatives, perhaps driving consolidation among a myriad of small dating players, forcing some to come together to try to reach a larger scale and survive the arrival of the 800-pound gorilla. Facebook. Some services may feel that they have to become a little less specialized, pushed by market forces to look for a more generic (and therefore larger) group of singles. Others may find that they can no longer obtain enough niche users to self-sustain. The loss of the rich option in singles dating apps we currently enjoy would be a real shame. This is a good reason to deny the Facebook overtures here.
- Algorithmic dating is an empty promise and a cynical attempt to humanize Facebook's surveillance
Facebook generally counteracts the charge that because it tracks people for guidance with ads it is in the surveillance business to claim that People who do the monitoring benefit humanity because it can serve as "relevant announcements". Of course, that is a very delicate argument, since all graphic advertising is something that nobody has chosen to see and, therefore, it is necessarily a distraction from whatever a person really has had. It is also an argument that is under increasing pressure in recent times, given the major scandals linked to Facebook's advertising platform, whether with socially divisive Facebook ads or malicious political propaganda propagated through Facebook or specific Facebook ads that discriminate groups or Facebook ads that are really only spreading scams. It's safe to say that the list of problems associated with your advertising-oriented business is long and growing.
But the Facebook follow-up claim now, with Quotations and the data you intend to keep on people for this pairing purpose, is that you have the algorithmic experience to turn the creepy habit of tracking down everything that everyone does into one formula to locate love.
So now you not only get "relevant" ads to sell it; He says that Facebook's surveillance is the special sauce to find his Significant Other!
Frankly, this is more than insidious. (It's also literally an episode Black Mirror – and it's supposed to be a dysfunctional science fiction.) Facebook is moving because it needs a new way to package and sell its nasty people surveillance practice. He hopes to go beyond his attempt to normalize his line of business (that is, that surveillance is necessary to show ads that people can click marginally), which has become increasingly problematic as it has been shown that Advertising platform is causing all kinds of problems. of the dominant social problems, by implying that by letting Facebook move 24 hours a day, 7 days a week can ensure its future happiness because its algorithms are working to locate its other perfect half, among all those 1 and 0 is continuously mistreated.
Of course, this is total bunkum. There is no algorithmic formula to determine what makes a person click on another (or not). If there were humans they would have discovered it long, long ago, and monetized it without mercy. (And he runs into all kinds of horrible ethical problems along the way)
The thing is that people are not mathematics. You can not make human beings clearly add to the total of their collective interests and parts. That's why life is much more interesting than the things you see on Facebook. And also why there is an almost infinite number of dating applications, which cater to all kinds of people and predilections.
Unfortunately, Facebook can not see that. Or rather he can not admit it. And so we get senseless notions of algorithmic pairing & # 39; expert & # 39; and & # 39; data science & # 39; as the underlying justification for another dating application release. I'm sorry, but that's just marketing.
The idea that Facebook's data scientists are going to become vampires is as absurd as it is ridiculous. Like any couples search service, combinations of that work will be generated and many more will be generated. But if the price of a random result is incessant surveillance, the service has a disproportionate cost, which makes it an unfair and unattractive exchange for the user. And once again, people are encouraged to give up much more than they receive in return.
If you think you'll find the one & # 39; It will be easier if you focus on people with interests similar to you or who are in the same group of friends, there is no shortage of life avenues & # 39; existing you can follow without having to resort to Facebook Dating. (Try joining a club or going to a friend's party or, in fact, choosing between the results of existing dating apps that already offer interest-based matches)
Likewise, you could just walk around Mountain and meet your future wife at the top (as a couple I know). It is safe to say that there is no formula to love. And fortunately so. Do not think that anyone tries to sell you a dating service with the argument that your nerdtastic data scientists will connect you well and correctly.
The possibilities of Facebook to work any & # 39; magic of love & # 39; They will be as good / bad as the next application-based pairing service. Which means that it will be random. Certainly, there is no formula to distill beyond the connection of "available to date" singles, which dating apps and websites have been doing very well for years, years and years. Facebook dates are not needed.
The company has little more to offer the world of online dating than, say, OkCupid, which has a scale and already combines the location and the declared interests of its users in an attempt to generate possible clicks. The only additional part is the quasi-grouping of Events in Facebook appointments, as a possible way to try to leave in a marginally more informal environment than to agree on a real date. Although, in reality, it sounds like it could be more difficult to organize and carry it out.
Facebook's generic approach to dating is also going to offer much less for certain singles who benefit from a more specialized and personalized service (such as a player focused on women like Bumble who has created a service to meet the needs of women or, in fact, any of the aforementioned offers mentioned above that help people meet other like-minded people).
Facebook seems to believe that size matters in appointments And it seems to want to be a generic giant in a market that is already supplying all kinds of different communities. For many singles that general approach will cost a lot to slide the left hand.
- Appointments need resources and focus on problems. Facebook should be fixing
The founder of Facebook made a & # 39; fix Facebook & # 39; Your personal priority this year. . Which underlines the number of problems that the company has shattered on its plate. We are not talking about small bug fixes. Facebook has a lot of existentially horrible infernal holes that burn through its platform and drill several human rights in the process. This is not trivial at all. Some really terrible things have been happening with their platforms acting as the conduit.
Earlier this year, for example, the UN criticized Facebook saying its platform had become a "beast" in Myanmar – armed and used to accelerate ethnic violence against the Muslim minority Rohingya.
Facebook admitted that it did not have enough local resources to prevent its software from being used to amplify ethnic hatred and violence in the marketplace. The killings of Rohingya refuges have been described by human rights organizations as genocide .
And it is not an isolated case. In the Philippines, the country was recently immersed in a major human rights crisis, and the government of that country, which used Facebook to help get elected, has also been using Facebook to attack its critics while carrying out Thousands of urban murders in a bloody so-called 'war on drugs'.
In India, Facebook's WhatsApp messaging application has been identified as a contributing factor in multiple cases of mafia violence and killings, as people have been plagued by lies scattered like lightning through the
] Faced with such horrible problems – where Facebook products at least do not help – we now see the company plowing resources to expand into a new commercial area and spending engineering resources to build a new interface and messaging system (the latter to ensure that Facebook Dating users can only exchange text messages and can not send photos or videos because that could be a risk to the photo).
It's a true cry He tells me that Facebook did not pay much attention to what happens in Myanmar, where local organizations have been asking for a long time to incorporate intelligent limits to their products to help stop abusive abuse.
However, Facebook only added the option to report conversations in its Messenger application this May .
Then, the company devoted great efforts to launch a dating product, at the same time that it is accused of not doing enough to prevent its products from being conduits for human rights abuses in multiple markets . It is ethically uncomfortable, to say the least.
Potential users of Facebook Dating may feel a little dizzy at the thought that their passing fantasies have been prioritized by Zuckerberg & co in addition to adding stronger safeguards and guardrails to the various platforms that operate to try to safeguard humans from the real death in other corners of the world.
- Getting involved in dating, Facebook is mixing social flows separately
Speaking of feeling dizzy, with Facebook Dating the company is trying to achieve a trick a balancing act to convince existing users (many of whom already they will be married and / or in a long-term relationship) that somehow it is totally normal to simply leave an appointment to something that is supposed to be a generic social network.
Suddenly, a space that has always been sold -and marketed- as a platonic place for people to forge "friendships" suddenly has a sexual opportunity injected into it. Of course, the company is trying to keep these completely different desires completely separate, by making the dating component an acceptance function that hides within Facebook (and where (says) any activity is hidden and out of the mainstream of Facebook (at least that's The claim)). But the very existence of Facebook Dating means that anyone in a relationship that is already on Facebook is now involved, in a way, with a dating application company.
Facebook users may also feel that they are being hung up on the opportunity to subscribe. Sneaky online dating – with the company then he promised to be the secret intermediary who carried flirtatious messages that he wanted to send in a way that would be difficult for his spouse to know, whether they are on Facebook or not.
How comfortable is Facebook going to be with possible help for adultery? I guess we'll have to wait and see how that ends. As noted above, Facebook executives have suggested, in the past, that the company is in the business of "connecting people, period." So perhaps there is a certain twisted logic that functions as a hidden current and is driving its impulse to drive ever greater human connections. But the company could be at risk of applying its famous relationship status "is complicated" to itself with the launch of appointments, and then spill complicated consequences on its users as a result. (Like, well, he often seems to do it in the name of expanding his own business.)
So, instead of "not mixing transmissions," with dating we see that Facebook is trying to get away with it completely opposite types of social interactions in close parallel. What could go wrong?! Or rather, what is it that stops someone in the "separate" Facebook dating group trying to stalk Facebook to someone who is there who does not respond to his overtures? (Since Facebook dating users have their real Facebook names, there could easily be attempts by & # 39; users to cross & # 39;).
And if the feelings of a service in silos were seen in the mainstream of Facebook, things could be very complicated, and users could end up being doubly repelled by their service instead of being more obligated. The risk is that Facebook ends up doing incrustations and does not hatch its own nest trying to combine dating and social networks. (This less educated phrase also comes to mind.)
- Who do you expect to date?
Outside of emerging markets Facebook's growth has stagnated. Even the rise of the middle stage of the social stage of social networks is affected. At the same time, today's teenagers have no heat for Facebook. Younger web users are more interested in visually appealing social applications. And the company will have its work cut trying to attract this youthful crowd sensitive to the trend. Dating on Facebook will probably sound like a bad joke, or a daddy's joke, for these kids.
Raising the age range a little, those under 35 are not very much in love with Facebook either. They can still have a profile, but they also do not think Facebook is great. Some will have reduced their use or even taken a mini break. The days of this age group that uses Facebook to flirt with old classmates from the university have already forgotten to send a joke on Facebook. Some are erasing their Facebook account completely, and without looking back. Is it likely that this age group of primary dating mass falls en masse for the love Facebook experiment? It seems doubtful.
And it certainly looks like it's not an accident Facebook is debuting outside the United States. Emerging markets, which often have young, application-loving populations, are likely to represent their best chance to win the critical mass of singles absolutely necessary to make any dating product vaguely interesting.
But in its marketing shots for the service, Facebook seems to hope to attract singles aged twenty-somethings: users of dating apps that are probably among the most naughty and deceptive people on Facebook to attract with a proposal late stage, catching and, of course, cruel.
After that, who left? Those over 35 who are still active on Facebook will get married-and therefore will be busy sharing their wedding / baby photos-and not in the dating market anyway; or if they are single, they may be less inclined to get involved in online dating than younger users who are now well used to dating apps. So, again, for Facebook, it seems that profitability is decreasing here.
And, of course, a dating application is as interesting and attractive as the people who appear in it. That could be the most challenging obstacle for Facebook to make a mark on this well-served playground, given that its eponymous network is now neither young nor cool, nor modern, and it seems to be having more than one identity crisis with each year What's up. .
Perhaps Facebook could carve out a niche for itself among divorced middle-aged people, offering to keep them digitally handy and help them get back into the dating game. (Although there is no suggestion that this is what he expects to do with the service that debuted this week.)
If Zuckerberg really wants to bag the youngest singles he seems to be most interested in, at least judging by marketing of Facebook Dating, could have been better by adding a stream of quotes to Instagram.
I mean, Insta Love gram almost sounds like it's one thing.