Facebook, in keeping with its trend of releasing products that no one asked for but everyone ends up grudgingly using, has just rolled out its very own dating app. Originally piloted in Colombia in September of last year, it promises to provide dating options based on mutual friends and interests. Don’t worry about matching with friends though — the app won’t do that, but if you really have the hots for someone on your friend list but have never had the courage to shoot your shot, you can add them to a list of “Secret Crushes.” If they do the same, sparks could fly.
The graphic design is actually quite good for a dating app — someone at the company made sure of that, likely to mask the fact that Facebook’s latest idea is, indeed, quite bad. (See this Buzzfeed reaction compilation for a laugh.) The top of the website features a typical sunset picture and two people about to hold hands: symbolically uncertain, given that they met on an app and don’t mutually know if the other person is really a serial killer. Superimposed in sans serif font (thank goodness) are the words, “Love is universal, it’s invincible, and it brings us together like nothing else in the world,” which is romantic until you remember that Facebook piloted a “study” to manipulate the emotions of its users in 2014. (They basically tweaked people’s timelines to see if certain types of posts would provoke positive or negative reactions.) Now they’re doing it again, but more transparently!
In fairness, the premise is a good one, since going through mutual friends is perhaps a better way to meet people. And the app’s website is clear and informative, with some details about how the process of signing up and using the app actually works. The very bottom of the page even has a link to safety tips for dating. Ladies, don’t get in his car on the first date; everyone, meet in a place that makes you comfortable. A news release says that instead of swiping à la Tinder, you get added to the pool of people who opted in, and then get to like or comment on pictures directly. Presumably, this method will make things work better.
Perhaps the best thing about this app, which will technically work in the main Facebook app — unlike Messenger, which requires a separate download — is the color scheme and fonts used to sell it to the masses. The eggshell blue, baby pink, and lavender are united by pops of fuschia and teal, creating an interface that, like so many companies, is a nod to ‘70s nostalgia updated for this decade. The large lavender and pink heart, with a slight ombré, near the bottom is eye-catching. The whole concept is techy and minimalist, and it works. It’s a dating app from Facebook, after all, and it bears repeating that the smooth interface and friendly tone of the informational copy is merely a front for acquiring still personal information from its users (and using it in new fun and exploitative ways). Happy swiping!
—Staff writer Cassandra Luca can be reached at email@example.com.