Would you let Mark Zuckerberg be your Cupid?
Facebook Dating, a relatively new platform recently released in the US, boasts to give you better matches than other rival dating apps using the already existing Facebook information it already possesses about you as (Perez, Tech Crunch and Matsakis, Wired) mention. (It is) “helping you start meaningful relationships through things you have in common like interests, events, and groups” (Facebook Newsroom). Although a negative approach towards this platform may exist due to Facebook’s recent debacles regarding privacy, the majority outweighs the minority (Paez) and as William Chopik mentions, (the) “most common ways people meet is through friends in common followed by in a social setting, like an activity or group event (…) In this way, Facebook Dating has a considerable advantage (from) other apps” (Paez). Throughout this post, I will argue how Facebook Dating is emergent due to it creating a more dynamic, more authentic user profile in comparison to other dating apps such as Tinder, Grindr, Bumble, Hinge etc.
Location-based dating apps such as Tinder or Grindr which allow you to see potential people to connect with based on a location radius, might give rise to what Heino et al. dub as the “marketplace metaphor” where users of the sites might see potential partners as pieces of meat, or shop around for a particular type, which often perpetuates a hook-up culture. Many users of dating platforms “compared online dating to an economic transaction” (434), thus illustrating how we might not want to delve deeper into knowing a lot about prospective partners, before meeting them, as it doesn’t exactly matter what their personality is like. We see a relation here to the notion of media ecology as the selection of a particular ‘mate’ depends on attractiveness. Facebook Dating, in comparison to other apps such as Bumble, Hinge or Tinder, may eschew this line of interaction, through the introduction of Facebook and Instagram Stories.
We may also see people casting a wider net for meeting people by using not just one dating site (Burgess and Bederu, 1). And also see a dichotomy regarding the use of apps by adults, looking for a more long-term relationship (which is good considering all the data Facebook already knows about you, so it is able to suggest more compatible partners), and teenagers using many dating apps simultaneously, facilitating the hook-up culture mentioned earlier (Noor, Djaba and Enomoto, 48). This illustrates the pervasive use of dating apps with fairly static interfaces (only relying on pictures and a biography) to illustrate who a person really is, in comparison to the dynamic (integration of Stories into the Dating profile to give a more well-rounded picture of partners) schema of Facebook Dating. “Importantly, dating app profiles offer relatively static social information and the agency of the social other cannot be observed or engaged” (Banks, Westerman, Sharabi, 305).
Facebook Dating leads to people knowing more about people. As Whitty mentions, people did admit to misrepresenting themselves, but to attract partners, not to engage in anything malicious (1714). Here we may see a concurrence with Toma et al’s reading as they illustrate how on the one hand people want to portray themselves the best to potential partners, but they may also wish to present themselves in their truest form, eccentricities and all (1024). Facebook Dating, may have an advantage over other dating apps. While other dating apps give you the choice to message your prospective partner, Facebook Dating encourages the user to become proactive through “liking” or commenting on the pictures that a person has on their profile (Facebook Newsroom). Facebook Dating is trying to ensure, if people are not who they say they are, why go through the trouble of opting in to take part in the platform as the introduction of Facebook/Instagram Stories gives users more information about their partner than they could have ever dreamed, so deceptive profiles become easier to spot. The platform also possesses a “Secret Crush” feature where people can add up to nine Facebook friends that they harbour romantic feelings for, and if one of their crushes has also put them on their list, then their names will be mutually revealed to each other, and if not, no-one will accidentally find out who you have a crush on, thus illustrating the platform’s focus on privacy of its users.
Emergency of Facebook Dating
Facebook Dating is considered emergent literally, as the US is the twentieth market to get it, but it is also emergent as it boasts to convey a more dynamic, user-friendly experience to the user. This could be argued through the VICE article that it is possibly less user-friendly as you had to tap to choose whether you expressed interest in the person or not. This might be less haptically engaging than the Swipe feature that Tinder possesses. It also forces you to start a conversation immediately with your prospective partner, but would that not be very awkward for both parties? Facebook Dating could in turn, make these interactions less awkward through the fact that you essentially know more about your partner as you are not relying on just pictures or text, you can see their interactions at events or hobbies. In Henry-Waring et al., they speak about the investment people put into online dating and how people “want their interactions to be treated with honesty and respect” (19). The platform may help combat deception through people portraying their “true Self” rather than their “enhanced Self” (21). As people on dating sites, often rely on photos to communicate what a person is like, less flattering people may be judged for the types of photos they put up. This may lead them to deception to gain partner(s)or changing their appearance to put up more flattering photos. As Pranee suggests, people might try to put their truest self out there on platforms such as Facebook Dating so as not to be disappointed by the face to face meeting.
This post has spoken about how the emergent platform Facebook Dating attempts to combat deceptive profiles in todays ever changing media landscape. In comparison to other dating apps such as Tinder, users of Facebook Dating may choose to display more of their true selves to their prospective romantic partners through the use of Facebook and Instagram Stories.
Baker Renee, Ebony. I Tried Facebook’s New Dating App and it Was Exhausting. 28th November 2018. Accessed 6th September 2019. www.vice.com/en_au/article/nep3v7/i-tried-facebooks-new-dating-app-and-it-was-exhausting.
Banks, Jamie., et al. “A Mere Holding Effect: Haptic Influences on Impression Formation Through Mobile Dating Apps.” Computers in Human Behaviour, vol. 76, November 2017, pp.303-311. Accessed 10th September 2019. www.doi.org/10.1016/j.chb.2017.07.035.
Burgess, Kyle and Bederu, Milan. Consumer Survey: The Best Way to Swipe a Mate. Spring 2016. Accessed 9th September 2019. www.consumersresearch.org/wp-content/uploads/2016/03/Consumer-Survey-The-Best-Way-to-Swipe-a-Mate-Kyle-Milan-Bederu.pdf.
Couch, Danielle, and Pranee Liamputtong. “Online Dating and Mating: The Use of the Internet to Meet Sexual Partners.” Qualitative Health Research, vol. 18, no. 2, Feb. 2008, pp. 268–279. Accessed 10 Sep. www.doi.org/10.1177%2F1049732307312832.
“Facebook Unveils Dating Platform.” YouTube, uploaded by Fortune Magazine, 1st May 2018, www.youtube.com/watch?v=j7W0p8yR9EI.
Heino, Rebecca D., et al. “Relationshopping: Investigating the Market Metaphor in Online Dating.” Journal of Social and Personal Relationships, vol. 27, no. 4, June 2010, pp. 427–447. Accessed 9th September 2019, www.journals.sagepub.com/doi/abs/10.1177/0265407510361614?casa_token=x30IDFxATIEAAAAA:yJefOdSJ1nAuJt16CUU2DtopOPIU0H3ME3Qq3HkwGVzpnxDA9oIe5ZFANHZDfclKzIZZE1uEm7gIdQ.
Henry-Waring, Millsom and Barraket, Jo. “Dating and Intimacy in the 21st Century: The Use of Online Dating Sites in Australia.” International Journal of Emerging Technologies & Society, vol. 6, no. 1, 2008, pp.14-33. Accessed 10th September 2019. www.search.ebscohost.com/login.aspx?direct=true&profile=ehost&scope=site&authtype=crawler&jrnl=18358780&AN=33273864&h=LNNN6vHyHWwmmP9JFzpsv8JgJNecrNDMxiFJuAYvP4IgmYuqQ4OzfkH8yJsDA8LW5id3loiNTT6Im22cT9655Q%3D%3D&crl=c.
Matsakis, Louise. Facebook Dating is now available in the US.Here’s how it works. 5th September 2019. Accessed 6th September 2019, www.wired.com/story/facebook-dating-in-the-us/.
Noor, A. Sajid., et al. “The Role of Social Networking Websites: Do They Connect People Through Marriage or are they Responsible for Divorce?.” Journal of International Social Issues, vol. 4, no. 1, November 2016, pp.40-49. Accessed 9th September. www.pdfs.semanticscholar.org/bdd1/e6ad057a61ceee90c4668ed3db98a65e70a8.pdf.
Paez, Danny. Facebook Dating: Release Date, Launch, and Why It Could Rule Dating. 2nd May 2019. Accessed 6th September 2019, www.inverse.com/article/55467-facebook-dating-release-date-launch.
Perez, Sarah. Facebook Dating launches in the US, adds Instagram integration. 5th September 2019. Accessed 6th September 2019, www.techcrunch.com/2019/09/05/facebook-dating-launches-in-the-u-s-adds-instagram-integration/.
Sharp, Nathan. It’s Facebook Official, Dating is here. 5th September 2019. Accessed 6th September, www.newsroom.fb.com/news/2019/09/facebook-dating/.
Toma, Catalina L., et al. “Separating Fact From Fiction: An Examination of Deceptive Self-Presentation in Online Dating Profiles.” Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin, vol. 34, no. 8, Aug. 2008, pp. 1023–1036. Accessed 10th September 2019. www.doi:10.1177/0146167208318067.
Whitty, T. Monica. “Revealing the ‘real’ me, searching for the ‘actual’ you: Presentations of self on an internet dating site.” Computers in Human Behaviour, vol. 24, 27th August 2007, pp. 1707-1723. Accessed 9th September. www.doi:10.1016/j.chb.2007.07.002.