Move over Tinder, forget Badoo, there’s a new dating platform in town, and this one’s from Facebook.
Named Dating, the new Facebook feature began its first public testing in Columbia, USA today, which should reveal how the service will be used by the rest of the world when it is eventually rolled out to other locations.
Will you now be swiping on Facebook? And is the platform more focused on one-time flings or relationships? How will the platform compete with other dating apps?
Here’s everything you need to know about Facebook Dating.
What is Facebook Dating?
At Facebook’s F8 developer conference earlier this year, the social network revealed it was launching a new feature aimed at dating and relationships.
Facebook’s CEO Mark Zuckerberg said there are 200 million people on Facebook who list themselves as single, and the new feature is a way to help them build meaningful relationships online.
You don’t need to download a separate app – the new feature is available to use inside the normal Facebook app on your mobile.
Who can use it?
Anyone who has a Facebook profile over the age of 18 can use Facebook Dating.
At the moment, the new feature is restricted to people who live in Columbia, though eventually it will be rolled out to the rest of the world.
We’re waiting to hear from Facebook when the new platform will launch in the UK.
How does it work?
If you already have a Facebook account, then Facebook Dating allows you to create a separate dating profile.
Your first name and age is pulled over from your normal Facebook account, but in Facebook Dating you get to fill out a new profile with information like height, religion, job title, interests and dating preferences.
You can also add up to nine photos of yourself or some icebreaker questions picked by Facebook, such as ‘what does the perfect day look like’?
This is a fun addition to the dating profile game: the idea is that when people match they can discuss their responses to the icebreaker questions instead of the usual, ‘Hey, what’s up?’
How does Facebook Dating match people?
Using all the information you’ve provided, Facebook’s algorithms get to work.
The platform will suggest potential matches depending on dating preferences, things people have in common, as well as mutual friends, though these will be restricted to people location less than 100 kilometres away from you.
You can choose to only match with people who live nearby, have children, or fit into a specific age bracket if that’s what you’re looking for.
You will also be able to discover potential matches with similar interests through things like Facebook Groups and Events. Say you attended a gig last week and want to see who was on the guest list and if any of them are on Facebook Dating. You have to “unlock” the event to find a potential match there.
Can you swipe yes or no on Facebook Dating?
There is no swiping in Facebook Dating. Instead, you can click “Not interested” when looking at potential matches on the app.
According to Zuckerberg, this is because the new dating platform is about: “building real, long-term relationships, not just hook-ups.”
How is Facebook Dating separate to Facebook?
Facebook has appeared to separate out the Facebook Dating features to keep it separate from your normal profile.
Importantly, you won’t see anyone you’re already friends with on Facebook or people you have blocked, when matches are served up.
If you’re nervous about your other Facebook friends seeing your new dating profile don’t worry; Facebook says everything you do within the dating feature will not be shown to your friends.
As well, any messages you send and receive will be kept in a separate inbox, away from Facebook Messenger.
Once you match with someone and want to start chatting to them, you have to give them your phone number or switch to a different app if you want to swap things like photos or news articles. Facebook says this is for security reasons.
Will Facebook Dating be a success?
It’s interesting that after all this time, Facebook has decided that it wants to get into the dating games.
Things like not having to download a separate app, as well as the events and groups links should help it, as well as simply being made by Facebook give it a good head start.
But there are so many different dating apps now – the most recent one being Lumen, the first dating app exclusively for over-50s. Will Facebook Dating be good enough to compete with such platforms? We’ll have to wait for its official launch to find out.