FACEBOOK IS NOW letting you search for Mr or Miss Right without just typing random names into the search bar and hoping. Facebook Dating, which launched in Columbia last year, is now available to Americans, ready to set you up with people over shared interests and mutual acquaintances.
It's like the Cambridge Analytica scandal, only with long walks on the beach and bumped uglies rather than undermining the fraying fabric of democracy. So that's an improvement we can all get behind.
"Finding a romantic partner is deeply personal, which is why we built Dating to be safe, inclusive and opt-in," writes Nathan Sharp, the product manager for Facebook Dating.
When anyone in the US downloads the newest version of the app, they'll have the option to set up a profile outside of your regular Facebook wall, assuming they're over the age of 18. You can set it up so that you only see friends of friends or people completely outside of your social circle, but Facebook won't suggest your actual friends unless you use your "secret crush". If you do, your creepy unrequited interest in your pal will only be revealed if they feel the same way.
To avoid unwelcome pictures of nether regions, Facebook Dating won't allow the sending of links, photos or videos, and payments will also be blocked to prevent scams.
"Facebook Dating isn't about swiping or having to wait for someone to like you to get a first chance at reaching out," explained Sharp. "If you are interested in someone, you can comment directly on their profile or tap on the Like button to let them know. If you aren't interested, you can pass on them."
We're not sure if hitting a Like button is any less personal than swiping, but the market certainly thinks Mark Zuckerberg has a future as a kind of tech Cupid.
In the immediate aftermath to Facebook's announcement, shares in Match dropped nearly five per cent. Given it owns OKCupid, PlentyOfFish and Tinder as well as Match.com, that's not a great show of faith in the world of dating beyond Zuckerberg's fiefdom.
Don't worry if you still want to meet people the old-fashioned way. Facebook Dating isn't due to hit Europe until next year, so you've still got plenty of time to go clubbing, slide into DMs or write the words "single and desperate" in 20-foot high skywriting. Whatever works for you. µ
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