ON THURSDAY last, Facebook announced the start-up in the United States of Facebook Dating, a product that allows users to search for love all without the hassle of leaving the app where your angry uncle continues to share recycled memes about ''Crooked Hillary''.

The feature was first announced in 2018 and is up and running in 20 countries as of last Thursday.

Most companies would consider a poor timing to roll-out a feature offering to manage the love life of its users the day after reports of a large data breach. But in defense of Facebook - which is constantly resetting its ''Days without an Embarrassing Privacy Failure'' counter - there's almost never a good time.

Yes, you absolutely deserve a lifetime of  love and happiness, and yes, there's a decent argument to be made that Facebook knows more about you than any rival  dating-service ever could.

But even in Facebook has the kind of weapons-grade algorithms that might move fast and break your dry spell - trusting the company with your love life feels like a disaster waiting to happen.

This may seem uncharitable. After all, the company's Facebook Dating as altruism. ''Right now it's a really feel-good mission. It's just connecting people,'' Nathan Sharp, one of Facebook's product managers. told reporters.

There are no plans for ads and no plans for subscriptions.''
.- No ads
.- No revenue
.- Just Love.

What's in it for Facebook?

The cynical observer might notice that Dating, apart from ''just connecting people,'' is also a clever backdoor for Facebook to do some mingling of its own.

Specifically, to help merge and integrate its  legacy product  with Instagram, which it acquired in 2012.

Unlike Facebook proper, the dating app lets users to import Instagram photos and [soon] Instagram Stories into their profiles. The feature will also allow daters to add their Instagram  followers to a widget called ''Secret Crush,'' which will notify you if your crush also adds you to his or her crush list.

Dating apps are home to some of the most sensitive personal information we choose to disclose  [locations, interests, pictures, career history and all of your tastes and personal preferences. It adds up.

In 2017, a French journalist used European Union privacy laws to request her Tinder data and received 800 pages of what she described as ''a trip into my hopes, fears, sexual preferences, and deepest secrets.''

''Which is another way of saying that this is information you want protected at all costs.

Plenty of  legacy dating apps aren't much better with privacy and security. But protecting your romantic secrets is a job that Facebook seems, given its history of data breaches, uniquely unqualified for.

Sensing this, the company wrote a blog post assuring users that dating profiles would be mostly separate from traditional Facebook profiles [only the user's first name and age will automatically populate in a dating profile; the rest need to be added by the user] and that information will be secure and opt-in.

The honor and serving of the latest global operational research on Dating and Apps, continues. The World Students Society thanks author and researcher, Charlie Warzel.


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