Facebook dating was a catastrophic failure, and I know why | Gaba Store CR

Facebook dating was a catastrophic failure, and I know why

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Facebook Inc, now called Meta, announced its dating app, Facebook Dating, on . There was real excitement, with people hoping for a revolutionary dating app that would soon surpass Tinder.

And it’s not surprising when you consider the size of the company, its technical capabilities and, above all, the large volume of data that Facebook has collected about its users. After all, research shows that Facebook knows us better than our mothers, so why wouldn’t it live up to its goal of creating “meaningful relationships”?

But four years later, it hasn’t taken the market by storm – most people have simply forgotten about it. Numerous reports claim that the dating app is practically non-functional. Facebook’s data suggests that not many people use the service: about 300,000 in New York, compared to Bumble’s 3 million New York users.

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As an online dating technology researcher, I’ve had my eye on Facebook Dating since its announcement. But since I never knew anything about its success in the market, it took me a while to look into it. Now, I think I have a good idea why the application failed.

my experiment

When I activated my Facebook dating profile (purely out of academic curiosity), I was overwhelmed by the number of very attractive profiles I was exposed to within the first few hours. I started hitting ‘likes’, soon I was getting ‘match’ notifications, meaning people had ‘liked’ me too.

My own research shows that receiving a positive signal on a dating app for a heterosexual male user is a fairly rare event. However, my phone didn’t stop ringing for hours. But I started checking profiles and soon realized this was too good to be true, with matches seemingly out of my league.

To see what was going on, I started chatting. I didn’t have ethical clearance from my university for full research, so I made it clear on my profile that I was there just to chat.

But writing a couple of messages to one person, I got a phone number and an invitation to take things to WhatsApp. My previous work has shown that this usually happens after at least 20 messages and within three to four days. This was light-speed dating, according to science.

Within hours, I had a long list of attractive matches who wanted to talk to me “about interesting things”, not on the app, but on WhatsApp. Interestingly, no one sent me an Irish number (often from the UK or Polish), even though they all supposedly lived in Ireland.

Things got even weirder quickly. Not only did the text messages look very similar, but the profile names, like Lily, Sandra, and Miriam, gradually drifted toward Tomasz, Moises, and Andrew as I continued to like and match on the app. When I asked “Andrew” from Japan if “his” name is common for girls in Japan, he said it was his German name. Tomasz, aka Diana, said his name is her ex-boyfriend and Moises didn’t respond.

At this point, I began to suspect that I was dealing with an organized phishing campaign aimed at having my phone number through a WhatsApp chat combined with my name, and god knows what would come next.

If there is one social media company that can verify the authenticity of its users, it would be Facebook/Meta. The large amount of data we’ve shared with the app makes it very easy for them to verify accounts. In fact, we rely on Facebook’s authentication system to log in to many other services and apps, including Tinder and Bumble.

Trouble on the horizon

Facebook Dating coincided with all manner of scandals, including Cambridge Analytica, and parliamentary inquiries. Perhaps an invasive use of personal data for matching purposes would have raised more angry voices. It seems that the original vision of Facebook Dating may have been dead in the water before it was properly launched.

The app’s rather primitive design suggests that there was little attempt to compete with existing dating apps. Your experience would be similar to your experience on Tinder ten years ago.

It seems most likely intentional that Meta allows fake accounts to lurk around Facebook Dating. There just aren’t many real users. If the fake accounts are removed, the app is pretty much empty and Facebook wants us to see a lot of profiles to stay in the app a little longer.

So what can we learn from all this? It can be difficult for users to spot fake accounts on dating apps right away, so it’s important not to share your phone number and other private information before a level of trust is established. Eager invitations to take things to the next level, generic profile descriptions, and rather inconsistent responses to your messages could all be bad signs to watch out for.

For the first time since its launch in 2004, the number of Facebook users stopped growing this past quarter. And as many of us are speculating, this may be a what to know to go out with a beard reason why the company has chosen to change its name to separate Meta from Facebook, the social network, and try to focus on other areas, such as the metaverse. So perhaps the failure of Facebook Dating was an early sign that Facebook’s problems ran deep.

This article by Taha Yasseri, associate professor at the School of Sociology; Geary Fellow, Geary Institute for Public Policy, University College Dublin is republished from The Conversation under a Creative Commons license. Read the original article.

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