Bleats

Bumble Goes Facebook-Free, Meaning Your Online Security-Conscious Soulmate Might Actually Sign Up Now

Delete Zuckerberg’s stalking, keep your access to an endless stream of guys who look like Mark Zuckerberg and/or might stalk you!

If the only thing standing between you and deleting Facebook was the thought of not being able to judge a stream of strangers on their bangability, we’ve got good news!

At some point today, a new Bumble feature will kick in: the ability to register for an account using a phone number.

Previously, you could only sign up via Facebook Login.

“The reason behind this improvement is due to the overwhelming request from prospective users who are not too fond of Facebook and, because of this, refused to give online dating a try,” a Bumble PR staffer told Ars Technica in an email.

This is not how you delete Facebook, but it’s just as satisfying.

So if you’re one of those people who have, like, boundaries or whatever when it comes to throwing huge troves of your personal data at faceless corporations who do evil s**t with it, you can now join us gullible sheeple in the digital cesspool of unsolicited schlong shots and acknowledging familiar faces on the street only to realise you ghosted them after a drunk chat a month ago.

Of course, just like when you’re getting your hopes up swiping through someone’s pics only to find a photo of them at a festival doing duckface in blackface with their arm around Kyle Sandilands, there’s a catch.

Reading between the lines, it seems that this is just for new users – meaning you can’t just switch your login credentials over from being Facebook-based to number-based.

You can always start a new account with your phone number. You’ll lose your current matches, but if you’re really meant to be, you’ll find each other again and then continue to only text every three weeks about how you’re still so busy.

The other benefit of the Facebook linkup, apart from making signing up easier, was that it made it that much harder for people to create multiple or fake profiles for catfishing or cheating purposes (or both!).

Bumble says they’ll still be encouraging users to verify their accounts – a process that involves getting you to take a selfie in a specific pose so they can check it’s really you in your photos.

And there have been some security and functionality issues with online dating recently, ones that could have left de-identified information available to hackers – and any time you give identifiable information like you phone number to a corporation, it’s a risk.

But given that the biggest ones were to do with the way the apps interacted with Facebook’s API, this is probably a move in the right direction.

And hopefully, it will mean the beginning of the end of Bumble profiles with the multicoloured Facebook profile filters on. It’s nice and all that you still stand with Paris, guys, but now I know that picture’s two and a half years old.

We Need To Decide ASAP Whether Facebook’s New Meet With Friends Feature Is About Seeing Your Mates, Or Seeing Them Naked

"Meet With Friends" has started rolling out to some users this week, but it’s similar enough to Tinder that we're feeling a little suss about it.

In amongst the endless “Tag yrself” memes and wedding photos, you might have spotted a new kind of notification in your Facebook app alerts: a few names that “might want to meet up with you”.

If you tap on the notification, you’ll be shown a screen where you’re asked if you’d like to meet with a particular Facebook friend this week. If you tap “Yes”, and they do too, you’ll be prompted to sort out a time and place to catch up. If you tap “No”, nobody’s the wiser; they won’t know they’ve even been shown, let alone that you’re not keen to actually see them any time soon.

Sound familiar? Yep – that’s how Tinder matches you up with people.

The feature was first tested in Toronto and New Zealand in September last year, and at the time a couple of outlets did note the similarity to the Tinder user experience.

“Is Facebook trying to get you to date your friends?” mused The Verge.

“Facebook tests Tinder-like ‘meet up’ feature” fretted the New York Post.

Meet With Friends now seems to be rolling out in other markets. A quick Twitter search showed a couple of users based in Mumbai had been shown the feature, and at least one Sydney-based user as well as a GOAT staffer had received the meet-up notification as of this morning.

When the Motherboard writer who first spotted the feature last year approached Facebook about it, the company told him it was about making it easier to make plans with friends.

This makes sense to me. In fact, it could be a nice way to get out of that endless loop where all you talk about with certain friends is how you haven’t seen each other in ages and you should totally catch up, but you never do, even though you do genuinely want to hang out.

This was what I – a pure and innocent cinnamon roll – thought when I saw the feature. But the consensus in the GOAT office was the same as those headline assumptions last year: that this is Tinder for people you already know. That Facebook is quite clearly trying to get you to bang your friends.

Yes, I know. I was shocked too.

The original purpose of a new piece of technology doesn’t always end up being how people use it.

Viagra was originally being tested as a blood pressure medicine. Listerine was marketed as a cure for gonorrhoea. The internet was supposed to be a military communication channel and now we use it for porn and trying to meet people to date and have sex with.

Humans will turn just about anything into a sex thing, basically.

They’re just good friends.

And if everyone thinks that Meet With Friends is like Tinder, they’re going to hit Yes not on the lovely married school mates they want to catch up with for coffee, but the people they want to bone down with.

Because we’ve all got those in-between Facebook friends. The ones we met on a night out and thought were cool, or had a few uni classes with but never really got to know properly.

Maybe we want to date them. Maybe we do just want to actually be friends IRL. Either way, Meet With Friends might help us take the plunge.

And this is Facebook we’re talking about, so the feature probably won’t be going anywhere. It’ll just be another thing we sigh and put up with (if we’re still all keeping Facebook, which is still debatable.)

So let’s just agree now, shall we? We’ve got, say, a month to decide whether Meet With Friends is for meeting with friends, or friending with benefits.

After that, it’s either 100% about reminding you to make time for your real friends, or 100% about working out your mutual thirsts.

You must choose. But choose wisely.

Australia Is Too Warm And Too Casual For Cuffing Season, The Coldest American Dating Trend

A super-lazy seasonal phenomenon suited to Australia's chill dating culture - but maybe not our climate.

It’s weird being online in Australia sometimes, and I don’t just mean because of Ciggie Butt Brain and Betoota headlines.

The internet is so American, and it’s easy to feel like we’re constantly out of step. Your favourite sites, whether it’s tech or beauty or movies, are full of things we won’t be able to get for months. Monday lunchtime is full of spoilers for the Sunday-night blockbuster shows you won’t get to watch for five more hours.

And after years of being bombarded by Thanksgiving recipes every spring, plenty of Australians have given in and now celebrate the introduction of smallpox to the Native Americans by cooking dishes upon dishes of absurdly heavy food right before summer starts.

And the seasons! The topsy-turvy seasons that mean we’re constantly converting from Fahrenreit to see what our LA and NYC Twitter crushes are complaining about, feeling a season behind the winter and summer fashion, and getting weather envy from Instagram no matter what.

One thing that pops up every Australian spring, amid the American Internet’s collective freakout about their summer being over, is the phrase “cuffing season”. With the meaning not immediately apparent, I gathered it was something to do with getting laid, and everyone was suddenly more into light bondage as the weather cooled.

So KINKY.

But when it popped up on an American guy’s profile during a recent Bumble session, I finally caved and Googled it.

“Cuffing season”, it seems, is the name for when you, desperate and single, lower your standards just a smidge so you can attach yourself to someone for the winter.

It’s probably someone you’d swipe right on on Tinder but then never actually message; that friend of a friend who looks sort of cute at the bar after a few tequila sodas, but less so when he turns out to be really into you; that girl you slow-faded once Westworld ended and you realised you had nothing else in common.

It might not be the proudest moment of our dating lives, but we’ve all settled a little because we want some company – whether for a night or for a few months (or years).

And a Hinge survey in 2015 found that men are 15% more likely to be looking for a relationship in the colder months – people do start feeling a little more monogamy-friendly as the temperature drops.

So why haven’t Australians embraced “cuffing season”, the way we have with “Netflix and chill”? Why isn’t it a thing here?

It could be partially due to Australia’s notoriously chill dating culture, where we tend to just go from hooking up to hanging out to oh look we’re moving in together just because it’s cheaper.

Perhaps it’s just that we literally don’t have enough chill – because winter just isn’t as big a deal here.

In the US, they have bomb cyclones and polar vortexes and honest-to-god blizzards that shut life down for days. But it’s also just cold as balls – really, really, you-have-to-buy-special-clothes cold.

In Australia we just don’t get that kind of cold. Yes, winter is a bit miserable, and we do feel cold. And Tassie and Victoria obviously are regular exceptions. But it doesn’t affect our ability to function in daily life the way it does in most of the mid to northern US, where their biggest cities are. Most Australians don’t experience the kind of weather where it is honestly just too cold to be outside, even when the sun is out, even with a good coat.

Winter in Sydney is just those two months a year where we try to hang our mid-weight coats on the backs of chairs and idly wonder why we don’t have cloakrooms like they do in sitcoms about New York. Winter in Brisbane means you need to bring a denim jacket with you everywhere, just in case.

But it’s definitely colder than in the summer (or, you know, April), and as the temperature hovers around a positively Arctic 10 Celsius, we shrink into our doona nests and ugg boots, shivering.

Sydneysiders when it’s below 20.

And it’s easy to feel lonely on a winter night. There are fewer social opportunities: summer’s impromptu park picnics, lazy afternoon party flirting, the sheer sense of endless possibility that washes over you in those moments when you’re not furious at the sun itself and ducking into washrooms to dab at your boob sweat.

Seasonal Affective Disorder is real, and while the feeling of having settled isn’t the nicest, having someone you don’t mind hanging around for a little while could help you feel less grim.

It’s just nice to have a lap to put your feet in while you’re bingeing Billions, someone to appreciate how good you look in an oversized sweatshirt and thick socks and nothing else, and most importantly, a reliable bang buddy.

As the mercury flirts with dipping below “brisk” this year, maybe give another look at that semi-cutie who works with your housemate. At worst you get to use each other for body warmth; at best, you might actually find you’re “cuffed” to someone who’s funny, kind, has good taste in stoner TV, and knows what you like in bed. They might be worth holding onto past Thanksgiving.

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