Bang with Friends is exactly what you think it is

February 6, 2013: 3:18 PM ET

Thanks to a new app, one user's social network is another user's hook-up portal.

Screen Shot 2013-02-06 at 10.02.12 AMFORTUNE -- When Mark Zuckerberg originally conceived Facebook, it was a "Hot or Not"-type web site for Harvard students. Now, nine years later, three twenty-something California college students are taking the notion much further with "Bang with Friends."

The saucy-sounding Facebook (FB) app is just what you might imagine. Install it, and the app shows photos of Facebook friends of the same gender or opposite sex in a Pinterest-like layout.  Beneath each photo is a button labeled "Click to Bang." Presumably, if users on both ends of Facebook have the app installed, they're notified if they've been clicked on. (I say "presumably" because two of the friends I asked to test drive the app with me politely declined.)

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That may be the very reason "Bang with Friends" exists now. "We believe sex is so taboo, and we believe that people should be more honest and forward with each other," the students, who email under the moniker "Online Pimp," recently told BuzzFeed. We are giving people an easier way to do it, without running the risk of rejection. Our goal is to bring happiness to potential couples by taking down the barriers of intimacy."

Once the initial shock value wears off, there are a number of problems the Facebook app faces. First, of course, is the overt sexual matter. If mobile apps like the video-taking app Vine and photo-sharing app Snapchat are getting flack for users potentially transmitting sexual content, how much more so "Bang with Friends"? The app itself also appears to be in the early stages. While users can select lust-worthy individuals based on gender, the results appear unfiltered. When I used the app, everyone from my best friend to my cousin to my dad showed up. Creepy. And kind of a mood-killer if there ever was one.

Would Zuck be proud that his creation is being mined for hook-up purposes? Maybe not. But there's no denying "Bang with Friends" takes "social recommendations" to another level entirely.

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About This Author
JP Mangalindan
JP Mangalindan
Writer, Fortune

JP Mangalindan is a San Francisco-based writer at Fortune, covering Silicon Valley. Since joining in 2010, he has written on a wide array of topics, from the turnaround of eBay to the evolution of net neutrality. A graduate of Fordham University, Mangalindan has also written for GQ, Popular Science, and Entertainment Weekly.

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