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The service will allow people older than 18 to create a dating profile — separate from their main profile and invisible to their friends — that it shows to potential matches based on common interests, dating preferences, location and mutual friends, company officials said.Using a button — not a swipe, as popularized by the dating app Tinder — people will then be able to say whether they’re “interested” or would rather “pass” on those potential partners, officials said. Or will their thirst for engagement trump these other concerns?
“Facebook already knows a lot about you that you tell it, and it collects a lot of information about you beyond that. Now here’s this whole other bucket of really sensitive stuff,” said Justin Brookman, director of privacy and technology policy at the advocacy group Consumers Union. But because Facebook's audience is bigger and more widespread, its ad-targeting platform is more sophisticated and its users' profiles are built on years of detailed information, experts worry the new dating service could present a huge target and amplify the potential for abuse.The company has for years collected people’s relationship status (“Married,” “It’s Complicated”) and used it to help fuel its vast personal-data machine.In 2013, Facebook and Cornell University researchers pulled data on 1.3 million users to try to predict whether couples would break up within 60 days of Facebook announcing their relationship.“Facebook could enter this space and take it over relatively quickly, but should they, when we’re seeing as many problems as we do? “People are scamming people right now on Facebook platforms from Nigeria, Macedonia, the Philippines and everywhere else.” Matchmaking with Facebook’s data is older than the site itself: One of Zuckerberg’s first projects, Face Mash, scooped up pictures of female Harvard students and let users rate them by hotness.It was a “prank website that I made when I was a sophomore in college,” Zuckerberg explained to a lawmaker last month.Facebook officials said they are taking safety and privacy issues seriously and moving cautiously into the dating scene.Even as they were planning for chief executive Mark Zuckerberg to announce the new dating service onstage Tuesday, officials said they were busy thinking about how it might be abused.For instance, people will be allowed to send only a single message as a conversation starter, and they won’t be able to send anything but text, as a way of preventing potentially inappropriate photos and links.Facebook has long fought with the fake profiles — touting photos of beautiful women and hunky men — that scammers use to spark relationships with users, snatch money and disappear.After inviting developers for years to build novel products like dating apps or music services on top of its social platform, Facebook switched gears and restricted developers’ access to friends’ data in 20, a move that made it harder for many dating apps to acquire new customers.Some of the dating apps now allege that Facebook is copying their apps, encompassing their features into its main market-dominating powerhouse.