IF YOU THOUGHT that Facebook hadn't quite interfered enough in your life, then maybe that's because you don't live in Colombia. Facebook's great dating experiment has officially opened its doors over there, letting Mark "Cupid" Zuckerberg and his merry band of data elves set people up algorithmically.
Who says romance is dead?
That sound you hear is the Match group - owners of Tinder, OKCupid and, of course, Match.com - quaking in its boots. Yes, Tinder has 50 million people using it every month, but Facebook has two billion. And no, not all of those people are single, but Zuckerberg says at least 200 million have ticked the ‘single' box on their profile page, and that's not counting those who don't treat Facebook as some kind of compulsory census.
More importantly, the Facebook Dating will sit in the app itself - there's nothing extra to download. Opting in is as easy as flicking a switch, making it far more impulsive a decision that signing up to a dating site.
Once you opt-in, you just fill out some basic profile information, say what gender(s) you're interested in and verify your location. Facebook will then use its knowledge of you to suggest matches within a 100km radius. These matches will be based on shared interests and mutual friends, but the company says it won't be pushing people who are already friends together like the director of a sitcom.
There's no swiping involved. You have to press a button labelled ‘not interested' which hopefully comes with a suitably insulting buzzer noise when pressed. If you see someone you like, you can only start a conversation based on answered profile questions - Facebook is trying to avoid that favourite icebreaker of online lotharios everywhere: "hey".
Speaking of unpleasant online dating tropes, you won't be sending pictures of your genitals. Well, not on Facebook anyway. The inbox for the dating section is considerably more locked down than Messenger, and won't allow links, payments or pictures of any kind.
If that's disappointing to you, you'll just have to make excessive use of the aubergine, push pin or bug (?) emoji until you're blocked, I guess, you big old romantic. µ
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