Facebook is already an addictive social media platform that enables you to “like” and “love” statuses to your heart’s content. Now, you may ~like~ Facebook’s latest feature, too — dating — and possibly fall in love in the process. The new addition was announced on Tuesday at Facebook’s annual F8 developer conference by none other than CEO Mark Zuckerberg himself. So if you’re tired of your usual dating apps and endless swiping, Facebook Dating profiles are coming later this year and may be the dating platform you’ve been waiting for — and one that’s now an actual possibility. “This is going to be for building real, long-term relationships — not just hookups,” Zuckerberg said during his speech at F8.
At the conference, both Zuckerburg and Chris Cox, Facebook’s Chief Product officer, talked about how often people meet on Facebook. And, according to a press release from Facebook announcing the dating profile news, almost 200 million people on Facebook state that they’re single — so adding a dating feature to the platform seems like a given. Plus, more and more people who meet online end up getting married — one in three people, in fact. You also probably know couples who have met their significant others online, from using dating apps like Tinder to non-dating social media platforms like Instagram. Then why not throw Facebook into the meeting-your-future-partner mix, too?
One key question you may have about Facebook Dating profiles is: How will they work? Like other dating platforms, you’ll be able to browse through people’s profiles, which include photos and info about them. Matches will come up based on factors such as mutual friends, common interests, and dating preferences. Once you are both interested, you’ll be able to start messaging each other. But there are plenty of ways it’ll differ from your usual dating apps.
Facebook Dating Will Have Its Own Messaging Inbox
Keeping track of Facebook messaging conversations can get overwhelming when everyone seems to be messaging you at once. But with Facebook Dating, you’ll have a separate messaging inbox — thankfully — so you can keep your conversations with matches away from those you have with your friends. Plus, the dating inbox will be for communication via text-only—meaning, people cannot send photos or links when they’re messaging for the first time.
Your Facebook Friends Won’t See Your Facebook Dating Profile
Before you worry about your Facebook friends seeing your Facebook Dating profile, don’t be. The latter is separate from your regular Facebook profile, and your dating activity won’t come up in the News Feed and be shared with your friends. Can you imagine if it did, though?! But, rest assured, your Facebook Dating profile will be its own thing, which makes perfect sense. Plus, the Dating profile will only show users’ first names.
You Won’t See Your Facebook Friends As Potential Matches
Another worry may be seeing your existing Facebook friends as potential matches while you’re using the Facebook Dating space. However, this won’t be the case — any friends who have decided to Facebook date, so to speak, won’t see you.
Facebook Dating Will Have Extra Perks Dating Apps Don’t
Facebook Dating will have additional perks, too, such as an option to “unlock” individual events or groups you’re a member of to see potential matches and people who share your interests. Of course, this will enable you to “meet” even more people, and since dating is a numbers, game, this is another win.
Facebook Has Already Been Successful As A Dating Platform
One couple, Raman and Priya Gulati, met on Facebook back in 2011 and got married in 2013. Since then, they’ve had two children, as well. In 2016, Zuckerburg met the couple, and then received thousands of comments from people whose meaningful relationships also began via Facebook.
You may be wondering how, exactly, the couple met. “I had written a funny status update to try to get introduced to people with a specific last name,” Raman tells Bustle. “My goal was to meet someone with the last name ‘Aggarwal’ so I could make a parody version of ‘Blame It On the Alcohol.’ In actuality, I knew who Priya was already, but had never met her, and wrote this update to see if one of my friends would suggest that I meet her. When someone did, I took a screenshot and sent it to Priya on Messenger. We started talking from there.”
Priya adds that she never expected to meet her future husband on Facebook. “Online dating back then didn’t seem like a thing,” she tells Bustle. “It was crazy that he messaged me and I responded, and now we have two kids.”
But even though now online dating is very much a thing, both Priya and Raman recommend that others try dating through Facebook, too. “The mutual friend thing cannot be overstated,” Raman says. “When you meet someone you don’t know, your guard is up. But with even one mutual friend, there is a level of trust there. You need the initial trust so you can focus on the person and take the worry out of the equation.”
Priya agrees. “Other sites ask you to curate yourself for dating other people, but a Facebook profile is about showing your true self, how your family and friends really see you.” As you may know from your own online dating life, sometimes people don’t turn out to be the same IRL as the way they portray themselves online (catfishing, anyone?), so Facebook Dating may be able to help solve that problem.
While some Facebook users may use Facebook Dating because of the mutual-friends factor, others may prefer to stick to dating sites and apps for dating since they associate Facebook with the non-dating part of their lives; mixing the two may complicate things. Plus, dating sites and apps have been around for a while now and people are used to their go-to sites and apps.
But, after the Facebook Dating news was announced, shares of Match — who owns Tinder and OkCupid, too — dropped 22 percent, CNBC reported. IAC, Match’s parent company, decreased almost 18 percent. According to CNBC, Match CEO Mandy Ginsberg said in a statement:
“We’re surprised at the timing, given the amount of personal and sensitive data that comes with this territory. Regardless, we’re going to continue to delight our users through product innovation and relentless focus on relationship success. We understand this category better than anyone.”
In any case, time will tell how well-received the new feature will do.