Facebook just announced a new online dating feature--called "Dating"--that it will introduce this year. Some have questioned the timing of this move--or whether it's wise at all--coming as it does less than a month after founder Mark Zuckerberg spent two days being grilled by Congress about Cambridge Analytica's use of Facebook data for political purposes.
The naysayers are wrong. Facebook is the perfect platform to help you find a potential mate. The only mystery is why the company hasn't done it before now. The market knows this too. Shares of Match Group, which owns just about every significant dating app out there--Tinder, OKCupid, and PlentyofFish--as well as Match.com--dropped 17 percent when the announcement was made.
Consider all the good reasons you should consider trying Facebook's Dating feature if you're looking to make a romantic connection:
1. You'll have a bigger pool to choose from.
Facebook has more than 2 billion members and about 1 in 10 of them, or 200 million, have identified themselves as single in their profiles. One reason people like shopping on Amazon because it offers more choices in most categories than other retailers. Facebook Dating will have that same benefit.
2. If you use Facebook Dating, it will be invisible to your Facebook friends.
Facebook is smart in that it's making the Dating feature completely separate from the life you already have on Facebook. You'll have a whole other profile that you create for Facebook Dating, one that only uses your first name. You'll have a separate inbox as well, with no overlap between the usual messages you get on Facebook and your Dating-related messages. Perhaps most significantly, people you're already Facebook friends with will never be matched to you on Dating--perhaps a good reason to friend people you already know and don't want to date. Unless you tell them, none of your Facebook friends will know that you are using Dating.
3. Because of all Facebook already knows, it can do a better job of making connections.
Facebook already has a ton of information about you, but this is a rare case when the platform can use it to deliver something you really want and not just better-targeted advertising. It will use its algorithms to make matches, but it can also use its own specialized knowledge to help you find companionship just when you want it most. Imagine you're going to a concert or outdoor festival, or you want to go kayaking this weekend and you wish you had someone to go with. If the concert is one of your Events on Facebook, or you belong to a kayaking Group there, you can unlock that information in Dating and Facebook will match you with others who have unlocked those same Groups and Events and might be a good fit for you.
4. Other dating services are already using Facebook data.
If the thought of Facebook using the deep amount of data it's collected about you to match you with a potential mate gives you the heebie-jeebies, consider that if you've used an online dating service it's probably already too late. As Wired has noted, existing dating sites and apps such as Tinder depend on data from Facebook right now to find appropriate matches for their members. Most offer to auto-populate your dating profile with information from your Facebook profile, and one, Bumble, used to actually require you to have a Facebook membership in order to sign up. So the question isn't whether information Facebook has gathered will be used to match you with a potential date--if you use most dating services, it will. The only question is whether you want to take advantage of Facebook's obvious advantages in helping you find romance or not.