As if there weren’t already enough dating apps out there, Facebook decided to join the party. The social media giant lets you “opt-in” to date suggestions — friends of friends, fellow event attendees and more — even letting you match with your own friends with a “secret crush.” But is Facebook Dating safe?
People have some concerns, especially after Facebook’s long string of user privacy and data protection scandals. Now, the company may have access to not only your shopping, political and content preferences, but your dating preferences, too. Facebook Dating isn’t a separate app, it’s an option you can turn on within your own account.
You don’t “swipe” like a typical dating app, Instead, Facebook matches you with potential partners based on “preferences, interests, and other things you do on Facebook.” Basically, using all your data to find you a perfect match. You do have to “opt-in” to participate, even if your relationship status is set to single.
If you’re interested in someone Facebook suggests, you can ‘like’ their profile and comment. You won’t be able to see someone’s profile in the dating feature unless they’re opted in to get matched, too.
But even though it’s through the same app, you’ll have to make a separate dating profile. You can link your Instagram, and even add Facebook and Instagram Stories in the near future. According to Facebook’s statement, this “lets you be authentic in a way that a typical dating profile can’t” and “helps you get to know someone before and after you match.”
So why does this matter for parents? Even though you have to be over 18 to “opt-in” to the feature, it’s well known many kids are still on Facebook despite the age minimum of 13. It’s easy to change your age on Facebook, and it’s much easier to simply “opt-in” on a website you already have access to than to download a separate dating app like Tinder or Bumble. It’s been proven that dating apps are not safe places for kids, so this could mean trouble given Facebook’s struggles to keep kids off their site.