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Dating apps are introducing video chats so you can date during social distancing

Late last year, The League introduced video chatting to its users. The dating app, which prides itself on being exclusive, is “known for its selective admissions-based model and high achieving community of users,” according to its press kit. The video chat feature, tested out by my Mashable colleague Brenda Stolyar, seemed odd at the time — but now it seems like The League may have predicted how singles would connect during the coronavirus pandemic.

Seeing as people all around the world are being encouraged or forced to stay inside, dating has shifted into unprecedented territory. We should not stop dating under quarantine (if we don’t want to), according to Match’s chief dating expert Rachel DeAlto, but instead adapt. 

“I honestly do believe that it’s an opportunity to slow down to get to know each other,” DeAlto said in an interview with Mashable. She suggested phone calls and video chats as a way to connect.

Dating apps have started to capitalize on this, and are now offering video chat services. This week, The League announced new video dating features as well as two-week free memberships. By messaging “#isoDate” in the in-app Concierge, The League will provide the user with Member status for two weeks. The offer is valid as long as social distancing is encouraged. 

The membership grants users the ability to use League Live, a video speed-dating feature. Users go on three video call dates lasting two minutes each. Additionally, the app launched a video chat feature that allows calls without exchanging phone numbers. Users can also add 10-second videos to their profile.

The League is not the only app implementing these features. Plenty of Fish just announced a livestreaming feature, dubbed LIVE! Users in areas most impacted from the coronavirus — like Washington, New York, and California — can begin using it today, while it will be rolled out to over 80 percent of US users next week, and available to all global users by the end of April. 

Similarly to League Live!, Plenty of Fish users can play a game called NextDate that’s akin to speed dating. Users can chat to potential matches for 90 seconds, then decide if they want to move to a one-on-one call. 

“I’m excited to offer this free feature to our members in the hopes it allows people to have fun and build meaningful relationships virtually, while face-to-face interaction is temporarily limited,” said Plenty of Fish CEO c Green in a press release. 

At this point, we don’t know when exactly social distancing will end; it could well take months. This means that dating apps need to retool their offers to fit our new dating landscape. People cannot just send a few messages and meet up in person anymore. While it’s not certain, it will not be surprising if more apps follow The League and Plenty of Fish’s lead.

“There is so much technology,” said DeAlto, “so whatever you are planning on doing… going for drinks or going for dinner, you can do all that virtually.” Apps should prepare for “dating in the time of corona.” (Sorry.)

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