It was perhaps only a matter of time before Facebook entered the dating game.

Facebook announced this year that it is to set up a matchmaking service, using the vast data it has available to the social media network. The USD3 billion dating market is a perfect match for Facebook’s colossal data.

The network already has around 200 million people who describe themselves as single and hence the dating/matchmaking application is a no brainer for the company.

Reportedly Facebook employees are currently testing the new service as dating guinea pigs before it is publicly announced, which only came about as a result of a leak earlier this year.

But there are some dangers for both Facebook and users in the new service, which those who will doubtless flock to the service should be aware of

Here are five factors to be aware of:

1. Your Public Profile –

Facebook has had some major privacy issues lately, following the Cambridge Analytica scandal, and it doesn’t want another. The new service will provide public information that the user has on their Facebook profile, so long as they are over 18. So those thinking of using the service should check exactly what that information is and whether it is something they want shared via the dating service.

2. More Phony Profiles –

Phony profiles are almost a ‘standard’ with dating sites and the new Facebook site risks providing the same, only with the added problem of having the world’s largest social media network ‘turbo charging’ the risk of spamming, ‘shamming’ and gathering additional data from users in the process, but potentially exposing users to greater risk.

3. Messaging Issues –

There will be a feature permitting conversations, like Facebook messaging, but it is text only as a safety precaution says Facebook. As the conversations are generally with people who share an interest in an event, caution needs to be exercised if the messages disclose information that is not wanted to be shared via the network or to others and it is a protocol that requires careful use.

4. Profile Sensitivity

Creating profiles for dating involves revealing a lot of sensitive information. When that is shared on a massive platform like Facebook it also opens the risks associated with industrial-scale data sharing – privacy breaches, spamming and more. Take particular
care in what is uploaded, working on the basis that those you do not want to see it may still do so one day.

5. Here Come the Ads

Be prepared for more targeted advertising – the rivers of Facebook gold that provide the platform with its massive revenue streams. Dating users are certain to be so targeted too, often using their more sensitive profile data.

The Facebook dating service will create major waves in the online dating market and generate millions more for the giant.  But just as data privacy issues have already created crises for the company, so too will a service that relies on some of the more sensitive and intimate information any of us have:  our personal relationships.

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