It doesn’t seem like Facebook can catch a break. More users than ever are reportedly deleting the app, as the platform is arguably becoming something used by older folks. The biggest problem is that Facebook is no longer appealing to the younger crowd. And perhaps it’s this decline in interest that’s prompted Facebook to try out their new dating service in Colombia.
And while it might seem like a good idea to some, there has been tons of backlash against the company for trying to do what other people have already done. And arguably, there are plenty of other great options for online dating, including the ever-popular Tinder and eHarmony. But for one publication, TechCrunch, the new service is merely a disguise for something much more sinister. It detailed seven reasons why people shouldn’t trust Facebook to match them up with their future lover. And number four is probably the most hard-hitting.
“Algorithmic dating is both empty promise and cynical attempt to humanize Facebook surveillance.”
This claim is based on the underlying issue at hand, which is that an algorithm is doing the match-making. And the algorithm is being fueled by tons of user-provided data, which may or may not be obvious to the Facebook user. In fact, the publication accuses Facebook of using “the algorithmic expertise to turn a creepy habit of tracking everything everyone does into a formula for locating love.” And it further insinuates that the “tracking” is nothing less than “surveillance.”
Facebook has said a dating service it teased early this year is being rolled out in Colombia, choosing the country as its test lab because Colombians are particularly avid fans of using social networks and websites to find partners https://t.co/oDUYRS1yYK
— AFP news agency (@AFP) September 22, 2018
Furthermore, Facebook could be trying to use the dating service as “a new way to package and sell its unpleasant practice of people surveillance.” And if that’s true, then using people’s vulnerabilities of wanting to find a partner could be the perfect answer. After all, there’s plenty of people who are longing to be with the person of their dreams. Furthermore, it’s possible that many people who are hesitant to sign up for a dating site could be more willing to take part in Facebook’s service.
— Louise Matsakis (@lmatsakis) September 21, 2018
Perhaps if the Cambridge Analytica scandal had never come to light, the dating service would have been received with fanfare and without question. However, people are more wary now than ever of Facebook, and while the public may not understand all of the intricate details, there is a new sense of suspicion when it comes to the social media network.
It’s unknown for the time being how the trial run in Colombia will go. It’ll be interesting to find out if the service is eventually rolled out in the United States.
Wisdom of a dating app aside, it remains very weird that Facebook often tests new, potentially socially disruptive features in developing countries before launching them in the US/EU. https://t.co/FRuXcpiYET
— Kevin Roose (@kevinroose) September 20, 2018