Social media platform Facebook is set to launch a new dating product to rival the likes of Tinder and Bumble.
Nearly a year after it began testing in Colombia, Facebook Dating is now available in the United States, including safety features and more Instagram integration. Users in the United States can now officially use the social network as a dating service—with specialized matchmaking algorithm, and more features.
How Does The Dating Product Work?
The product will appear as a new tab within the Facebook mobile app to users 18 and older. People who opt into Dating can create a profile that’s separate from their main Facebook profile with one tap and meet potential romantic partners among their friends of friends — or, completely outside of their existing friend network. You can also opt to have Facebook Dating only show you those people where you don’t have any friends in common, for another layer of protection.
Facebook says it will suggest matches for you based on preferences you express when you create your profile, along with your interests and Facebook activity. The app, which borrows many design elements from the dating app Hinge, allows users to send a “like” and a corresponding message to any profile you encounter on the service.
You can complete your profile with up to nine photos and ice-breaker questions provided by Facebook, such as “What does the perfect day look like?”. Once your profile is set, Facebook says it will start matching you with potential dates based on “your preferences, interests and other things you do on Facebook.” The company says this includes factors like where you’re from, the Facebook groups you’re in, and where you say you went to school. You also can only match with people who are located within roughly 100 miles of you.
However, there is still a way to add a Facebook friend as a “Secret Crush,” which will only be revealed if the interest is mutual. People are also limited to nine “crushes,” to prevent abuse of the feature. This now extends to Instagram followers, too, with the U.S. launch.
Unique Safety Features- What Is The Buzz All About?
Facebook Dating also has a potentially powerful feature to protect users’ safety: you can tap a shield icon to share details of an upcoming date with a friend or family member using Facebook Messenger, as well as temporarily sharing your live location. That way, they’ll be able to keep tabs on you when you’re meeting a new person.
The product, which lives within the main Facebook app, also allows you to connect with people attending the same events or who participate in the same groups — though this is off by default and can be enabled on a one-by-one basis. The feature holds many advantages, even such as helping LGTBQ+ people who are not out to their communities.
When asked how Facebook will rank its profile suggestions, Nathan Sharp, the Product Lead for Facebook Dating, said he can’t discuss the details of the system.
“What I can say is that, in terms of privacy, none of the people you would see or encounter would be divulging any sort of information,” he explains. “So, if you and Taylor, for example, had gone to the same college, but you’d never posted that on your dating profile, you may be up-ranked. But Taylor would never see what college you went to and you would never see what college Taylor went to,” says Sharp.
In addition to the US, Facebook Dating is available in Argentina, Bolivia, Brazil, Canada, Chile, Colombia, Ecuador, Guyana, Laos, Malaysia, Mexico, Paraguay, Peru, the Philippines, Singapore, Suriname, Thailand, Uruguay, and Vietnam. Europeans will have to wait until early 2020 to gain access to the service.