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Can Facebook Use Data-Mining to Lead the Dating Industry?

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There was a major announcement at F8 earlier this month in San Jose. Facebook will launch “Date”, a new dating service.

 Facebook plans to restore faith with its users while increasing its data-mining. Its goal: outdo the implemented dating industry, from old-school Meetic.com to Millennial Tinder.

 With “Date”, FB makes up with its users

 With 200 million users, Facebook represents a big opportunity for the matchmaking industry. “There is clearly something to do here”, asserted Mark Zuckerberg.

While trying to get users-even more-addicted to Facebook, Zuckerberg introduced “Date” as being the anti-Tinder. “If we are committed to building meaningful relationships, then this is perhaps the most meaningful of all”.

With a newly developed algorithm, Date will use the users’ common interests, places, and travel to suggest matching profiles. As Zuckerberg explained, “people will be able to create a dating profile that is separate from their Facebook profile”.

However, Facebook’s users are growing older. More than half of them are over 35, and the growing audience population is aged 55-64. Hence a strategy that relies on interests, more than just pictures-but-no-text Tinderish interface.

The social network seemed to have learned its lesson after Cambridge Analytica’s scandal. Zuckerberg explained loud and clear that “Date” would not affect the user’s privacy.

Data privacy promises a restored faith

 Facebook’s founder promises a safe platform: “what people do within the dating feature will not be shown to their friends.” He has also said that a new “clear history” privacy control will be implemented.

“Date” profiles will link to events and groups that might spark the user’s interests. The app will show users nearby parties and encourage them to join according to their tastes.

While marking ‘attending’, users will be able to see the other single users joining the app. They will be able to communicate through Messenger, before, during and after the event.

“Date” data-mining seemed very efficient to experts. For James Cordwell, an analyst at Atlantic Equities, this could become “a big problem for competitors”. As a matter of fact, Tinder shares went down to 22 percent during Zuckerberg’s announcement.

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 However, Tinder, who is said to offer the same privacy, was exposed to a massive leak risk last January by the Daily Mail.

Some experts, like Arno Robbertse, curbed their enthusiasm. The cybersecurity director at ITC Secure warned that “Facebook absolutely cares more about making money than our privacy.

Daniel Thomas, a tech specialist at the Financial Times noted that this “social network’s dating app plan feels a bit too much a bit too soon after privacy scandal”.

 In a few weeks, the European Union will start regulating Facebook. All companies will have to comply with the General Data Protection Regulation.

GDPR ensures digital companies respect the user’s data.

In other words: governments are becoming involved to avoid another Cambridge Analytica-like scandal. This might limit data-mining for “Date” to a certain extent and limit its features.

As for now, “Date” is still in the making – no launch date has been announced in San Jose.

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