March 29, 2012 at 4:38 PM ET
I cringed as soon as I noticed Circl.es — a new dating site — requires access to its users' Facebook accounts. "Time to write yet another headline that somehow incorporates the word 'creepy,'" I muttered, to no one in particular.
But then I actually took Circl.es for a trial run.
It turns out the website is quite cleverly designed and that the ways in which it relies on users' Facebook data are quite reasonable (at least based on my brief experience with the site).
There's no way to manually create an account on Circl.es — the site only allows you to login using a Facebook account. This is a good thing because it limits how many fake profiles you'll encounter. (Yes, someone could first create a fake Facebook account and then link that with Circl.es, but let's be realistic: That requires way more effort than most individuals with sleazy intentions would care to put in.)
Once you've logged in with your Facebook account, Circl.es asks you a handful of questions about your personal preferences — such as the age, gender, and location of the people you'd like to date — and a few clicks later you're good to go. You'll be presented with potential matches and a couple of buttons which allow you to check the person's public Facebook profile, express interest, express disinterest, or simply pass on making a decision for now.
If you express interest in a person, he or she won't be instantly notified. Instead Circl.es only notify both of you if you both express interest in the other. This means there's no risk of rejection — no one will know you've expressed interest in him or her unless he or she finds you appealing as well.
Like I said, the site's clever. There's not much to it, but its simplicity is a strong point.
Circl.es doesn't post anything to your Facebook profile and if you decide to delete your dating profile, it only takes a click to accomplish the task. From what I saw while trying out the site, everything's on the up and up — which is quite baffling to this writer, who is used to covering sites which abuse Facebook connections rather than using them to quietly avoid matching you up with friends because it's "time to date outside your social circle."
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