Facebook Dating is rolling out around the world, but is this what singles really need to find love? Quite possibly.
Two billion people use Facebook every month. Not everyone will opt in for a dating profile in addition to their general profile, but there will still be a lot of fish in the sea.
Unlike Tinder’s reputation as a “hookup” app, Facebook Dating has been designed for love and meaningful relationships. Suggestions for people are based on preferences, interests and Facebook activity. You may discover a friend-of-a-friend who goes to your gym, listens to the same podcasts, and loves cinnamon doughnuts too.
Facebook Dating launched in the USA last month and is available in 19 other countries. It will be in Europe early next year and Australia shouldn’t be too far behind.
Elizabeth Webb is 37 years old and lives in Dallas, Texas. She has already met two men in person through Facebook and says “one was one of the worst dates I’ve ever had. The other one was really sweet and I’m still waiting to see how that goes.”
Elizabeth likes that Facebook Dating makes people accountable. She hasn’t been able to find some men from other dating sites on social media. “I’ve typically found that if you can’t find a social media presence for someone, they’re probably married,” she says.
Naomi Adair is 26 years old and already in a relationship because of Facebook Dating. She lives in Houston, Texas and her new boyfriend lives just over one hours’ drive away.
Naomi likes that Facebook is user-friendly compared to other dating apps, and that the inability to send pictures reduces inappropriate content. She says “given the cult following Facebook has amassed it stays much more busy than your average dating profile. It was, at times, hard to keep up with the matches and conversations.”
“My new boyfriend and I matched on Facebook dating and carried on a small conversation before exchanging numbers. We agreed to a first date about a week after our first initial contact where he insisted on coming to pick me up. We went out for dinner before coming back to my house to watch movies. We had an instant connection and decided to make things official.
“He works for the city as well as being a volunteer firefighter. As of yet, everything is going very well. We are still exploring and learning about each other as new relationships usually go, but I can say without a doubt that if it hadn’t been for Facebook Dating I wouldn’t have met such an amazing man and I couldn’t be happier.”
Most public criticism of Facebook Dating relates to privacy concerns. Even Facebook’s founder, Mark Zuckerberg, says the company does not have a “strong reputation for building privacy protective services”.
Facebook Dating has a feature called Secret Crush, allowing users to select up to nine friends whom they have romantic feelings for. Unless your crush also uses dating and also adds you to their secret crush list, Facebook says “nobody will know that you’ve entered a friend’s name”. Nothing can go wrong here, right?
Naomi hasn’t used Secret Crush because she isn’t crushing on any of her friends. She has however been matched with people she knew when she was younger, including one girl she hasn’t spoken to for 15 years. They chat regularly now.
Debbie Rivers is an Australian dating and relationship coach. She says dating apps can help singles find both casual and long-term relationships and people like them because they are easy and free. But singles need more than technology to find and keep their perfect match.
“Dating is a skill just like any other skill,” says Debbie, “there are ways to succeed online and in person and attitude is everything. Confidence is the key to success for both sexes, as well as having a profile and approach that works.”
Sceptical about Facebook Dating finding you love? Reflect on how you use online dating. Debbie says singles can become frustrated and have low self-esteem when they experience high rejection rates, but the rejection comes from their approach. They just send messages like “hey” or “hi”.
Debbie says “people think that online dating should be easier but it is not different to meeting someone in real life – you need the skills to have a conversation and connect with the other person.”