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But they draw a line between their business — selling subscriptions or upgrades like Tinder’s “Super Like” — and Facebook’s matchmaking service, which they say will morph to appease the social giant’s advertiser clientele.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.Felicia Cravens, a Texan who runs a Facebook page called Unfakery that helps track down fraud accounts, said catfishing and romance scams are a huge problem on the service — and one that the dating feature could easily make worse.“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.The new dating feature, Zuckerberg said this week, “is for building real long-term relationships, not just hookups,” and he said it could be life-changing for the more than 200 million Facebook users who list themselves as single.Still, Kevin Lee, the trust and safety architect of the fraud-detection start-up Sift Science and a former Facebook spam manager, said the dating service could subject users to a host of new risks, including financial fraud.Sift’s research, Lee said, has found that about 70 percent of the victims of these frauds are women — often older women in developed countries seen by fraudsters as wealthy and more vulnerable because of a divorce, desire to have children or other life situation.
The love-seeking singles of Facebook’s new dating service, privacy experts say, may not be prepared for what they’ll encounter: sham profiles, expanded data gathering and a new wave of dating fraud.“If we’re focused on helping people build meaningful relationships, this is perhaps the most meaningful of all,” he said.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.“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.Many dating services, including Tinder, Hinge, Coffee Meets Bagel, and the League, enable or require people to log in with Facebook and were able to grow by mining Facebook’s social network.