Warning: *privacy not included with this product
Review date: 02/07/2021
The good thing about Facebook Dating is it's one of the few completely free dating apps out there. The bad thing about Facebook Dating is that it's Facebook, which has a terrible track record at protecting their users' privacy and personal information. So, what do you get with Facebook's free dating service, questionable privacy practices aside? You use Facebook Dating, launched in 2019, through your existing Facebook app, no need to install a new app (warning though, the Facebook app collects a lot of data on you if you chose to install it). Create a dating profile in the Facebook app and away you go. Facebook will match you with people within a 100 miles of where you are. Facebook uses all the data it has on you (which is a lot) to find matches for you based on what you like, who your friends are, and what hobbies you're into. There's no swiping left or right. Instead if you find someone you want to chat with, you must ask them a question based on their profile or pictures. It's good Facebook Dating is free, as not everyone can afford to pay a lot of money to use a dating app. It's bad the trade off is Facebook and their questionable privacy practices can now collect even more personal information about you.
What could happen if something goes wrong
Let's be honest, Facebook has a long history of betraying users' privacy and trust. They've faced record fines (remember that $5 billion dollar fine for privacy failures?) and have been caught hiding privacy breaches from their users. Now they're asking people to give them even more personal information to help them find love. What could go wrong? Given Facebook's terrible track record, we're worried a lot. Facebook Dating isn't a seperate app, it is part of the general Facebook app, and it is well established that the Facebook app tracks a whole lot of user information like when you visit a coffee shop (if you don't turn off location sharing) and what is going on in the photos you share. Add in the additional personal data you share to create your Facebook Dating profile like gender identity and if you smoke, and now Facebook has even more personal information on you they can use for somewhat questionably ethical ad targeting practices. The question becomes, does Facebook have your best interests at heart when it collects all the data their dating service is capable of collecting? In the past—from Cambridge Analytica and beyond—the answer to that question has way too often been, NO. There's a reason Facebook Dating is free, you're paying for it with your privacy.
Can it snoop on me?
What is required to sign up?
Third party account
Facebook Dating is part of the Facebook app, there is no seperate Facebook Dating app.
What data does it collect?
First name (required), age (required), dating location (required), gender identity (required), looking for (optional), hometown (required), languages (optional), job title (optional), company (optional), secondary school (optional), university (optional), education level (optional), children (optional), smoking (optional), drinking (optional), religious beliefs (optional), hobbies and interests (optional)
Height (optional), face recognition (optional for Facebook)
Facebook and Facebook Dating are not seperate apps, hence share data across platforms. Facebook collects data across all its products, including Instagram, Messanger, WhatsApp and all other products.
How does it use this data?
How can you control your data?
What is the company’s known track record for protecting users’ data?
The Cambridge Analytica data leak (where millions of Facebook users' personal data was harvested without consent by Cambridge Analytica) is almost old news. Most recently, in September of 2020, 90 million accounts may have been impacted by an security issue where attackers were able to take over user accounts. In April 2019, it was reported that two third party Facebook datasets, containing over 540 million records, were available on the public internet. The records contained data relating to comments, likes, reactions, account names, Facebook IDs and more.
Can this product be used offline?
User friendly privacy information?
While accessible, it's mind-blowing to read up about just how much data Facebook collects on users.
Links to privacy information
Does this product meet our Minimum Security Standards?
According to Facebook, Facebook Dating is encrypted as part of the Facebook app. For data in transit between a Facebook Dating user and one of Facebook's servers their servers will select the highest TLS version that a user can negotiate.
A strong password is required
Facebook Dating is part of Facebook's bug bounty program, which is one of the longest-running bug bounty programs in the industry. https://www.facebook.com/whitehat
Does the product use AI?
Does the AI use your personal data to make decisions about you?
Does the company allow users to see how the AI works?
Facebook Dating use machine learning to surface potential matches. They also use proactive machine learning methods to keep people on Facebook Dating safe and prevent bad actor activity, including searching for things like whether a photo upload contains nudity. In addition, Facebook Dating is testing scanning profile bios for keywords, including ones that feature things like hate speech.