secret crush
Illustration by Soham Sen | ThePrint Team
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After launching Facebook Dating in Colombia last year, Facebook is now rolling out its dating services in 19 countries with an added feature: Secret Crush. Dating apps like Tinder, OkCupid and Hinge have changed how young couples meet and interact in the technological age while Facebook has faced one problem after another

ThePrint asks: With Secret Crush, is Facebook desperately trying to be relevant in age of Tinder & Hinge?


Facebook cares more about money than staying cool and relevant

Regina Mihindukulasuriya
Senior correspondent, ThePrint

Facebook likely saw the $1.7 billion Match Group the parent company for Tinder and Hinge made last year alone and thought, “Hey, we need to get into dating”.

As a for-profit business entity, Facebook would care more about making money than staying cool and relevant.

Dating is supposed to be big business worth around $12 billion by 2020 and Facebook already has 2.38 billion monthly active users, many of whom may not mind knowing who has a secret crush on them. So why not introduce a dating feature!

Facebook and Dating: It’s a match made in corporate heaven. So far Facebook appears to have no plan to monetise Dating and Secret Crush, but when and if Facebook decides how to milk this cash cow, it may help substitute some of the profits lost by removing focus from the Newsfeed, its core business product, and from paying a $3 billion fine in the US and whatever other future fines it may have to pay for all the security controversies Facebook keeps getting into across the world.

The only concern would be what Facebook may do with all the personal data it might receive as people start revealing more and more of their intimate selves on a dating feature.

Anyway, Facebook Dating and Secret Crush is yet to hit India – so no need for Indians to worry about intimate data security, at least for now.


Also read: Facebook’s Zuckerberg preaches privacy, but evidence is elusive


With privacy concerns rising, Facebook’s new products should first aim to win users’ trust

Monami Gogoi
Senior web editor, ThePrint

Facebook boasts about 2.7 billion people using its ‘family’ of services each month, most of which are free. The social media giant caters to many different age groups and is used by individuals and businesses alike. Meanwhile, dating apps owned by Match Group like Tinder, Hinge, OkCupid have paid subscribers with Tinder alone having over 4 million individuals who pay for the app.

I think Facebook delving into dating apps territory is probably to check if it can cater to this category of paid subscribers.

Facebook is almost an integral part of the digital experience of most online denizens today but the rapidly evolving digital arena requires companies to constantly provide new services to their patrons. As Facebook feeds are rapidly transforming into a space to get news information and with the decreasing level of personal engagement on the platform, Facebook is facing a challenge to keep young users hooked to it. Secret Crush could breathe a new life to Facebook. Moreover, what’s driving Facebook is the fact that dating apps are a lucrative market worth billions of dollars.

Secret Crush is probably one of the many experiments Facebook is trying out. It is definitely trying to stay relevant but dating apps aren’t its competitors. Facebook is battling its own demons amid the growing debate over privacy. Any new product Facebook introduces would be an attempt to quash the concerns of its users and win back their trust.


People matched on dating apps turn to Facebook to learn more about each other anyway

Fatima Khan
Journalist, ThePrint

This isn’t the first time Facebook has shown its desire to reinvent itself; the social media company’s app keeps borrowing features from Instagram and Snapchat. Facebook may be feeling the heat with apps like Tinder and Hinge taking over the dating world, and so the Secret Crush feature might just be the idea it needed to claim its share of the dating pie.

Users on a dating app mostly upload only a few pictures and some clichéd one-liners, whereas Facebook can tell a lot about people’s socio-political worldview, their ideologies, their gender politics, among other things. This is, of course, assuming the information is shared by the user.

And so, if two people ‘matched’ on dating apps are going to check out each other’s Facebook accounts to find more about each other, then it might actually be helpful for such people to have the dating app feature integrated into Facebook.

But several people actively choose dating apps precisely because of their cryptic nature and how little information users are expected to put out. The mystery of the unknown of their potential matches also perhaps appeals to them. Which is why I don’t think Facebook’s secret crush app will in anyway eat into the businesses of popular dating apps, but it could be an interesting resort for those who can’t get their way around the obscure dating apps.


Facebook is still too big and all-pervasive to find the need to ‘stay relevant’ in these times

Nandita Singh
Reporter, ThePrint

Despite the significant amount of bad press, privacy concerns and subsequent historical drop in market share, the unfortunate truth is that Facebook is still too big and all-pervasive to find the need to ‘stay relevant’ in these times. Whenever we match with someone on a dating app, our first instinct is to check out their Facebook or Instagram profile — the latter is also owned by Facebook. Assume your conversation with a prospective partner on Tinder goes well. What’s your next step? WhatsApp — also owned by Facebook.

Hinge initially required users to login with their Facebook account and the algorithm used the users’ common friends to come up with suggestions for them – until Hinge removed the ‘only Facebook’ login option.

Facebook (and Google) are by far the two most frequently used services for logging in to other sites and we are constantly giving vast amounts of behavioural data to these organisations.

What’s left but to voluntarily welcome them into the one private sphere we think we have left — the bedroom. Chances are that Facebook already knows who you are sleeping with — probably, the ‘secret’ in Secret Crush isn’t a secret to Facebook at all.

Facebook has an entire cupboard full of files on your life and humanity’s primal need to fall in love and/or have sex will make us willingly give up another drawer through Secret Crush.


 

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