Facebook Dating? I’d Rather Be Single

Spencer Kellogg | @Spencer_Kellogg

On Thursday, tech giant Facebook released its new matchmaking app “Dating.” As if Facebook didn’t already own every inch of relevant digital data on millions of its users across the globe, now they’re aiming to help you find love too — at least that’s what they want you to think.

If you’re not a ‘dumb f–k,’ you will avoid the dating app at all costs.

As is common with almost everything Facebook touches, things that seem innocuous on the surface level are often much more nefarious when users get a look behind the big blue curtain. After all, the new dating app is brought to you by the same people who have made a multi-billion dollar business model around mining and selling users data to the highest bidder.

Facebook “Dating” User Experience

Found in the main menu tab, Facebook aims to make the dating experience as seamless to use as possible. Facebook’s A.I. network prompts users to ‘create a profile’ at the click of a button.

Facebook is touting its cross-platform “Secret Crush” function that will use Instagram to list and combine potential love interests — as if DMing wasn’t sufficient enough. The company also announced its “Second Look” feature that will allow users the chance to recycle through profiles they wish to reconsider.

But privacy concerns continue to dog the social media application. This week it was revealed that Facebook had exposed the phone numbers of more than 400 million users. This comes a year after the social network accidentally made 18 million private posts public.

The app release comes during a difficult time for Facebook as they attempt to retain younger users. They have been doggedly criticized for their foray into cryptocurrency. Facebook has also come under criticism for their problematic free speech practices.

Digital strategist Jason Kelly of the Electronic Frontier Foundation was blunt: “If you’re trying to avoid dating services that have red flags, you can’t really find one that has more red flags than Facebook.”

“Those that go searching for love, only manifest their own lovelessness. And the loveless never find love, only the loving find love. And they never have to seek for it.” – D.H. Lawrence

Last year, I drove down the gravel dirt road that leads to D.H. Lawrence’s ranch house in Taos, New Mexico. It’s about as far away from everything that you can get in the United States and though Lawrence only spent a year in the piñon wilderness, he penned much of St Mawr there.

The thing that struck me most that day was how easily love comes when you stop looking for it. Standing among the sparse trees and open desert that stretched south to Albuquerque, you could feel the soft echoes of Lawrence’s love for the natural mystic. That love does not live inside a screen — it bursts open in the physical realm.

The biggest issue with Facebook “Dating” is that it’s really no different, technically or philosophically, from any of the other dating services that young people despise. Furthermore, study after study shows a waning interest in online dating and their results.

This year, Harvard found that those who use dating apps are more likely to have eating disorders. A third of Americans between the ages of 18-44 have used an online dating service with more than 55% rating their experience as ‘very negative.’

Finding love is tough. Finding it online can be even tougher. Dating apps haven’t made the age-old process of courtship easier, they’ve made it more convoluted. Facebook Dating incorporates the worst aspects of an industry that has woefully failed the consumer market.

My advice? Drop the apps and go for a walk: you might just bump into someone when you least expect it.

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