17 votes

Facebook's Dating Service is Full of Red Flags

13 comments

  1. [12]
    Bullmaestro
    Link
    Major privacy concerns aside, I really think that Facebook Dating could be a massive success if they do it right. All they have to do is be better than Tinder. Improving upon Tinder isn't a hard...

    Major privacy concerns aside, I really think that Facebook Dating could be a massive success if they do it right. All they have to do is be better than Tinder.

    Improving upon Tinder isn't a hard task, considering the fact that Tinder represents everything that is wrong with our current dating culture. Competing sites like Okcupid have actually ruined their platform and haemorrhaged their existing userbase by trying to be more like Tinder.

    All Facebook have to do is make it easier to find matches, encourage people to actually socialise through the app and make both men and women feel like they're making progress. Women loathe online dating because they get flooded with perverse messages from thirsty guys who have turned desperate enough to treat dating apps like a numbers game and message hundreds of women a day to beg for a quick shag, while men loathe online dating because they find it hard to find matches because they cannot meet the impeccably high standards that society sets upon them; like being over 6ft, having a huge successful career and a loaded bank account, having a huge 8 inch cock, etc.

    Would I trust Facebook with my dating habits? Not particularly. I have enough nightmares of third party apps ruining my time on the platform. One of my worst experiences was using an app called something like 'Are You Interested', having it ask me a question about my brother's girlfriend which I skipped, then post publicly to her wall without my knowledge nor permission.

    10 votes
    1. [10]
      Gaywallet
      Link Parent
      I honestly can't tell if you're being sarcastic/facetious or not and it's bugging me. Yes women and men hate these apps, but this is not a good summary of why.

      Women loathe online dating because they get flooded with perverse messages from thirsty guys who have turned desperate enough to treat dating apps like a numbers game and message hundreds of women a day to beg for a quick shag, while men loathe online dating because they find it hard to find matches because they cannot meet the impeccably high standards that society sets upon them; like being over 6ft, having a big beard, having a big 8 inch dick, etc.

      I honestly can't tell if you're being sarcastic/facetious or not and it's bugging me.

      Yes women and men hate these apps, but this is not a good summary of why.

      11 votes
      1. [8]
        UniquelyGeneric
        Link Parent
        As someone who has extensively used dating apps over the past 5 years I can give my take on the current state of affairs (pun unintended). Do note that this all applies to NYC, which may have a...

        As someone who has extensively used dating apps over the past 5 years I can give my take on the current state of affairs (pun unintended). Do note that this all applies to NYC, which may have a more unique dating culture as opposed to other cities.

        • Tinder - quality of people was never all that high on it, but it did have an implicit “hookup” culture associated with it (regardless of whether or not that was true). Plenty of girl’s profiles stated “not here for hookups”, which I assume was intended to turn away the guys who were solely propositioning them for sex. Overall, the match rate was decent because of the market share Tinder had, and I met my last girlfriend off of it, so it did have capability for more lasting relationship match making. However, for the past year or so it has gone completely downhill. The higher quality people presumably have left the platform, so it’s left with less desirable users. This could be partly due to the other confounding factor: matches for free users are nearly impossible. Tinder gives you a number of people who have swiped right on you, but after swiping through 100+ people, the pool of potential matches never goes down. My theory is that Tinder has ran out of VC money and needs to severely increase the number of paid customers (there are many sections of the app that require a subscription nowadays). This effectively neuters the free experience (pun also unintended) and makes it a huge waste of time. The app’s only notifications now are desperate attempts to get you to open the app by giving access to a one-time subscriber feature (a Super Like) which I’ve never once seen a benefit from.
        • Bumble - Used to have higher quality users (I realize these are subjective assessments, and based off of whatever the algorithm decides to match me with...but I have nothing but anecdata in this post anyways). Used to be my go-to for match making. Used to provide more matches (like Tinder). Nowadays it’s a series of users that you’ll rarely match with, and the ones that do may not even message back (previously they would send at least a “Hi” to keep the match window open). Bumble also has a “swiped right” number to entice more engagement, but unlike Tinder, it’s on a different pane in the app so it requires extra steps to see whether you’re eating into your pool. Long story short: it has the same issue Tinder has for free users, and I suspect the same VC-funding issue to be the cause.
        • Coffee Meets Bagel - was originally very unique in how much data it asked you to give, which proves useful to spark conversations when a match does occur. Also provides more filters with this data so you can cut through people you would have immediately swiped right on for whatever objective indicator you use in your consideration of someone. In my experience however, and I by no means intend this to be a racist statement, but there was a high concentration of Asians on the platform. I assume this is because one of the founders is an Asian woman herself, but it’s unclear if that’s relevant. You can filter by ethnicity, but I don’t use that filter because I like to think I’m open minded about this stuff (my ex-gf is Asian, for reference), but the sheer prevalence of Asian women made me think that the app itself has some sort of skew in userbase. This isn’t a bad thing, but it eventually got me to look elsewhere to see a more demographically representative set of users. Have not used it recently to determine how it’s changed in the past year or two, but I do know that Hinge has copied many of its good features and does so in a better way, so it’s possible that has had an effect on its userbase. CMB did have some paid features, but many were gifted to free users regularly, negating the need to pay for them.
        • Hinge - I used it originally when it was based off of the degrees of separation you had with FB friends of friends. This was a bit of a novelty at the time, and did little more to differentiate itself from Tinder. A few years ago they went through a redesign (calling themselves a “Relationship App”), and the UI/UX design should be a case study in and of itself (read: it was a good move). They stole many ideas from CMB (extra questions that provide some insight into your personality; further objective indicators of your preferences), but what CMB lacked was the ability to comment on any individual answer or photo. Hinge provided this ability, which simplified the dynamic for starting a conversation (which is largely dependent upon the male to take the lead, as it is in an irl setting like a bar). It gave a jumping off point that could guide the conversation. What Hinge also excels at currently is the quality of users (still subjective on my part). It was convincing enough it’s been the only dating app I paid the subscription fee for (still debating if that was a good idea). There weren’t many features that were prohibited to free users (aside from limiting the number of people to swipe on), but it did seem like if all apps will handicap your matches without payment, that Hinge was worth the investment.
        • Happn - it was an app based upon using your location data to determine when you crossed paths with various other users. The idea was to help you see people that were more likely to work or live near you (making date coordination easier). In practice it takes a long time to rack up “path crossings” to higher rank people, but no one really responded on the app (presumably because it was lesser prioritized by its own users). Too much clutter in the UI, and very few matches, I abandoned this platform and never looked back. I’m sure it was making money off of selling location data, which is also a privacy concern.
        • Bounce - Just heard about this one yesterday and am willing to try it out and report back. The shtick is that you I put many of the same data points as Hinge, but instead of stressing over how to conversation and convert to a date irl, the apps does the planning for you. There are certain times when you can swipe, and you’re only looking at others also online and available at the same time. You select a neighborhood you’re willing to date in and the app decides which location for you two to meet up at (the time was predetermined). You only get one match during this time and the expectation is that you can set up a date on the fly with it. Most conversations on apps are pretty vacuous and the real determination of compatibility has to happen in person, so I’m curious to try.
        • OKCupid, eHarmony, Plenty of Fish - I’ve never used these platforms myself, but from what I learned of my mother’s own usage is that they tend to skew older, but do not provide too much added benefit aside from what their marketing would make you believe. That being said, my mother has met her new SO from Plenty of Fish and I’m happy with the match, so it’s not all snake oil.
        • The League - I’ve personally never used this (and never tried either). The point is that it has a stringent vetting process before you’re allowed to join (to ensure the quality of users are high). One of my friends applied years ago, and had only recently been granted access. I view this as a somewhat desperate move for user growth, but that could be the cynic in me. I have another friend who married the woman he matched with and they are expecting their first child soon, so it certainly can pan out as well. Personally, I have no interest in using it out of a perceived pretentiousness of the userbase, but neither of my friends are those type of people so perhaps I should reconsider.

        All in all, I think that dating apps have degraded in quality over the years. Just like Uber has to increase prices to deal with lack of continued VC funding, these dating apps now have to compete on product features. The issue with these products, however, is that you cannot expect user lifetime value because if your product is good at what it does, the user will stop using it. I’ve heard of dating apps looking into wedding planning services to try to continue to make revenue of off users, but it’s unclear how that will pan out.

        My fear is that as these companies get more desperate for revenue sources, they will sell the user data to advertisers. You’re giving more info to these platforms than you may be willing to admit on others (drug/alcohol use, neighborhood residence, religion, ethnicity) which may be relevant to dating preferences, but are useful indicators for other datasets. This can very clearly “sell out” their users, and I am highly suspect of Facebook’s dating app venture given that they have a rocky history given data privacy. Overall, I will never use FB’s dating app out of principle, and if it ever gets to a critical mass where I don’t have a choice, then maybe I need to abandon dating apps altogether. I still meet people in bars and real life, which supplements the dating apps, and I think the most useful part of dating is judging chemistry in person. Crossing my fingers that Bounce pans out...

        23 votes
        1. cwagner
          Link Parent
          OkCupid used to be amazing. I mainly used it to meet or have conversations with people from all over the world. Because of the long profiles, you could get a pretty good impression of a person...

          OkCupid used to be amazing. I mainly used it to meet or have conversations with people from all over the world. Because of the long profiles, you could get a pretty good impression of a person just by reading their profile (a lot of men apparently still didn’t do that, at least I got quick replies from everyone, including those "rarely replies" women). The complicated questions (1/5 answers to a question for you, 1-5/5 answers how you want your match to answer and 1/5 choices on how important their answer falling into your selected range is for you) helped them make really accurate matches and I would get along well with everyone I ever interacted with. I also met my now-wife on there :)

          One of the best things, though only barely related to their core, was the OkStats blog which deep-dived into their statistical data with interactive graphs and analysis.

          With match.com buying them, it felt like they lost their soul though. OkStats stopped, it kept getting spammier with premium requests and just generally started to feel different.

          12 votes
        2. [2]
          vivaria
          (edited )
          Link Parent
          Just to expand on this, I have an ongoing theory for why the so called "quality of users" has steadily decreased on Tinder. I think it has to do with the Technology Adoption Life Cycle,...

          Just to expand on this, I have an ongoing theory for why the so called "quality of users" has steadily decreased on Tinder. I think it has to do with the Technology Adoption Life Cycle, particularly with how socially acceptable it is to be on a dating app.

          There's a certain type of person who takes a risk by trying something new and untested, and who puts themselves in a vulnerable position (regardless of how "cool" it is to use a new dating app.) My completely unfounded belief is that a good chunk of these people are more likely to be curious, open to new experiences, progressive, willing to push themselves to learn and grow, and to be unabashedly genuine in the face of judgment. (Well, maybe not entirely unfounded. See: the labels attached to each category in the adoption lifecycle link.) I also think these people are probably interested in other people with those same qualities.

          As dating apps became more and more socially acceptable, the later adopters who didn't have those qualities hopped on the bandwagon because they no longer got judged for doing so. As the platform took on more and more (for lack of a better word) 'normal' people, the early adopters grew weary of the platform and left because they weren't matching as many like-minded people. The change snowballed until the demographic using the platform shifted entirely, with the early adopters off trying some new service (or complaining about how the quality of the platform has degraded.)

          To sum it up -- the "quality" hasn't actually degraded. From our perspective, it's just changed. We're forward-thinking people who were drowned out by people not like us. (Not to suggest that in an elitist way, I don't want to act like anyone's better or worse than others. But I do want to point out that we're literally on a niche forum discussing this right now... we're a different demographic than the mainstream.)

          I used to be able to find people who were queer, nerdy, dorky, curious, black sheep types on dating apps. I'm an awkward, autistic uncool person who likes to gush about feelings and geek out about niche things, and I was meeting all sorts of people! All of my relationships from 2014-2016 stemmed from online dating apps. Now all I swipe past are the people I avoided in high school who thought I was weird because I didn't fit in. :V

          Bring back the weird people! Take them off their niche Tildes forums and start connecting them IRL again!

          10 votes
          1. lag
            Link Parent
            You know one thing I have noticed relatively recently is the rise of dating via unconventional sources, ie online. Almost as if they are penpals, they conect via nontraditional sources- meeting...

            You know one thing I have noticed relatively recently is the rise of dating via unconventional sources, ie online. Almost as if they are penpals, they conect via nontraditional sources- meeting your SO on reddit really inst as rare as you would think, discord, twitter, and so on. With Tinder/OKC and the swipe apps being well, dogshit, I feel as if people have more success on unconventional paths like online sites that arent specifically made for dating.

            Its really bizarre, yet I hear more people within my various friend groups that meet their SO online. Worlds a whole lot smaller than you'd think.

            1 vote
        3. [3]
          Gaywallet
          Link Parent
          I'd exemplary you if I hadn't already spent mine a few hours ago. I appreciate this write-up, and as someone who's also gone through quite a few of these dating apps, I have to agree on most of...

          I'd exemplary you if I hadn't already spent mine a few hours ago. I appreciate this write-up, and as someone who's also gone through quite a few of these dating apps, I have to agree on most of them.

          As someone who identifies as nonbinary, pansexual, and polyamorous, however, I have to say OkCupid is by far the best app for non-traditional dating. It makes it very easy to self-identify and it also makes it easy for others to search based on these self identifiers. There's plenty of people on the app who are young as well.

          9 votes
          1. [2]
            UniquelyGeneric
            Link Parent
            I guess I shouldn’t have panned OKCupid so quickly into the same bucket. I mostly put them there due to their desktop browser interface, which I viewed as an older skewing interface (I’m aware...

            I guess I shouldn’t have panned OKCupid so quickly into the same bucket. I mostly put them there due to their desktop browser interface, which I viewed as an older skewing interface (I’m aware they have an app as well).

            My experience a few years ago was that an ex’s sister exclusively used it to find other lesbian and/or nonbinary individuals on it. She ended up dating someone who transitioned after they met off OKC, so it seems to be more open to various identities.

            I also didn’t touch on Grindr as I don’t have personal experience, but from my conversations with my gay male friends, it’s predominanty seen as a pure hookup app. It’s moreso the reality of what people think Tinder is for straight people.

            Dating is complex, and I have a pet theory that these apps have actually delayed our match making (read: settling) with others. I’ve actually written a song called Dating Appathy (the two p’s was intentional) that highlights the jadedness many people take towards dating because the apps produce a false expectation that there are many other options out there (could also be an NYC problem). I won’t paste all the lyrics here, but I’ll put the end of the song:

            They start last call
            as conversation stalls.
            He barely can remember her name.

            They recognize
            in each other’s eyes,
            that every date has been all the same.

            2 votes
            1. lag
              Link Parent
              Grindr is so fucking bad. I cannot fathom what tinder is like for girls, jesus fucking chirst. It is so, so, SO bad its unbelievable.

              Grindr is so fucking bad. I cannot fathom what tinder is like for girls, jesus fucking chirst. It is so, so, SO bad its unbelievable.

        4. Bullmaestro
          Link Parent
          As someone who's used Tinder, Bumble, CMB, Hinge and Happn before, I wholeheartedly agree with your critique of these apps, though I should add that Coffee Meets Bagel sucks if you live in a...

          As someone who's used Tinder, Bumble, CMB, Hinge and Happn before, I wholeheartedly agree with your critique of these apps, though I should add that Coffee Meets Bagel sucks if you live in a region where few users use it. For weeks at a time I found myself being allocated no new matches.

          I can speak for the quality (or lack thereof) of the older and more traditional dating sites though, as someone who's used a few.

          Match.com was filled with loads of women in their thirties or older, seeking professional career-minded men to settle down with. Most profiles were dormant due to the really expensive subscription based nature of the site and I literally only had one conversation with another user which fizzled out after two messages in my approx 6 months of using the site. The way account security worked also seemed pretty shoddy to me.

          Okcupid used to be the best free dating site and I had more engagement with users than on other sites. However, it went downhill several years ago because the site's owners saw the threat of Tinder's growing market share and pushed to make OKC a much worse Tinder clone. Some of the things they did included replacing the 5-star rating system with a simple like/dislike system, forcing users to post under their real names, changing the messaging system to ensure you only receive messages from users who liked your profile, changing the match system so it constantly leads to an empty list of users, etc. Couple this with a tone-deaf marketing strategy to make them appear more progressive whilst simultaneously ignoring the growing complaints from their own user base, and you can see why a lot of people abandoned OKC.

          PlentyOfFish is awful. The layout looks as bad as Myspace circa 2004, plus the site is pretty barren on features. Your message history only lasts for up to two weeks, Meet Me is barely used to find matches because likes are hidden behind a paywall, the site gives you zero indication as to whether you messaged a user before, and I'm also convinced that most of the profiles on there are bots.

          4 votes
      2. Bullmaestro
        Link Parent
        Facetious perhaps. It's certainly a more complex issue than this quote implies, but given the amount of posts I see online complaining about these aspects of online dating, I definitely see them...

        Facetious perhaps. It's certainly a more complex issue than this quote implies, but given the amount of posts I see online complaining about these aspects of online dating, I definitely see them both as big issues.

        1 vote
    2. scrambo
      Link Parent
      Like gaywallet, I'm having trouble focusing on any part of your comment apart from that second to last paragraph. First I'd like to address a couple points you made independently, then I'll...

      Like gaywallet, I'm having trouble focusing on any part of your comment apart from that second to last paragraph.

      All Facebook have to do is make it easier to find matches, encourage people to actually socialise through the app and make both men and women feel like they're making progress. Women loathe online dating because they get flooded with perverse messages from thirsty guys who have turned desperate enough to treat dating apps like a numbers game and message hundreds of women a day to beg for a quick shag, while men loathe online dating because they find it hard to find matches because they cannot meet the impeccably high standards that society sets upon them; like being over 6ft, having a huge successful career and a loaded bank account, having a huge 8 inch cock, etc.

      First I'd like to address a couple points you made independently, then I'll address the tone of the whole paragraph.

      Women loathe online dating because they get flooded with perverse messages from thirsty guys who have turned desperate enough to treat dating apps like a numbers game and message hundreds of women a day to beg for a quick shag

      Is on point to the best of my knowledge. According to my sister, my ex (who I met on Tinder) and my current girlfriend (who I met on Hinge) they absolutely do have to wade through a veritable tidal wave of crude sexual jokes openers, very forward sexual requests, and (in my opinion) the worst: the ones that seem like intelligent, well-adjusted, and likeable up until they realize they're not going to get what they want. Then it devolves quickly into insults and personal attacks. If you want to see real world examples of this, visit the niceguys subreddit. Luckily, for at least Tinder and Hinge, you can choose to respond to who you want, so you can bypass the first two groups of people with relative ease. Now, this can of course change with the type of relationship the woman is looking for. If she's simply looking for a hookup, I'm sure it's possible to put up with a less-than-stellar candidate.

      while men loathe online dating because they find it hard to find matches because they cannot meet the impeccably high standards that society sets upon them; like being over 6ft, having a huge successful career and a loaded bank account, having a huge 8 inch cock, etc.

      I feel like I need to preface this by saying the following: I'm a 6'2", modestly attractive guy. Not loaded by any interpretation of the word, but haven't had too much trouble when using dating apps. In my time using those dating apps, I have never found a single person that required me to have a successful career, rich, or a large dick. Not to say they don't exist, but I would say they're not nearly as prevalent as you might expect. People like that should be considered outliers apart from the general population. You may have noticed that I did leave out the height from the previous list, and this is on purpose. For whatever reason, height is one of those features that's considered highly desirable and I have heard from multiple friends, family members, etc that they've been rejected based on that feature alone.

      5 votes
  2. Diet_Coke
    Link
    Facebook knows so much about people, this could honestly be really strong if they leveraged all that data. They know where you're from, who you know, where you go, what you read, what you wear,...

    Facebook knows so much about people, this could honestly be really strong if they leveraged all that data. They know where you're from, who you know, where you go, what you read, what you wear, what you like to do for fun, what your politics are, and so much more. Although not without flaws - Facebook had me, the whitest guy you know, pegged as an African American. If they used that data to actually guide people towards compatible matches it would be a really compelling reason to use it.

    It would also benefit Facebook by having people correct their own data - I'd put in my real phone number or correct my race, personally - and grow usage of the app.

    I guess the question is will they go that way or will they be another Tinder clone?

    5 votes