They say that when the going gets tough, the tough get going. Well, in Facebook's situation, if we take 'going gets tough' to mean, 'become embroiled in a major global scandal about questionable handling of users' private data' and 'tough get going' to mean 'announce a curious move into creating an online dating network', then that is the exact scenario they've found themselves in.
At its annual developer conference, Mark Zuckerberg - the man who looks like everyone's weird cousin who still collects Yu-Gi-Oh! cards - announced Facebook's new dating app. The new dating feature will be strictly 'opt-in' and would create an alternate profile, separate to your regular profile which would only be viewable for other people who'd signed up for their own dating profile.
Zuckerberg said that he hoped this dating feature would build "real long-term relationships - not just hookups." This is a confusing thing for Zuckerberg to say. Zuckerberg hates the idea of you having hookups. The last thing Zuckerberg wants is for people to meet and have consensual, no strings attached hookups.
Zuckerberg's ideal first-date scenario, for two people who use this app, is for them to each meet in some neutral territory, midway between their two residences. He would like both of their families to be accompanying them. He would then like a protracted discussion to ensue between the two assembled families, representing the two prospective love-birds, regarding what would constitute a suitable dowry. Once this has been settled Zuckerberg would like the two families, in the company of a local religious cleric, to bind the fledgling couple together in the rite of matrimony, pledging the rest of their lives to one another.
It could be argued that Facebook had originally dipped its toe into the utterly disgusting, fetid waters of online dating with the implementation of its 'poke' button way back when. Unfortunately, it rapidly became the preserve of perverts and degenerates, and a 'poke' from someone who you were not on very close, joking terms with, was immediately a sign that that person ought be avoided at all costs.
It will be exciting to see how Facebook will utilise the data harvested from this proposed dating app to sell to third-parties. It will open up a whole new regrettable world of targeted advertising: "Oh, Stephen has been single and desperately searching for a partner for over 5 months now, why don't we target him ads for discounted 1 litre tubs of ice-cream and boutique German pornography." We are not ready for this, our brave new world.