At the F8 annual developer conference, Facebook announced that it is entering the online dating scene with a new set of features, which allows users to create a Facebook dating profile separate from their normal Facebook profile. The profile will only be visible to non-friends who also opted into dating. Users will also get a separate inbox for communicating with their matches.
Facebook will match you with other people based on your preferences. Since Facebook has more data about you than other apps like Tinder, it could potentially lead to more relevant matches.
“There are 200 million people on Facebook who list themselves as single, so clearly there’s something to do here,” Facebook founder and CEO Mark Zuckerberg said. “Today, we are announcing a new set of features coming soon, around dating.”
“This is going to be for building real long-term relationships, not just hookups,” he added.
Facebook announced that “potential matches will be recommended based on dating preferences, things in common, and mutual friends. They’ll have the option to discover others with similar interests through their Groups or Events.”
So how does Facebook dating work?
First, you’ll create a dating profile using only your first name. This profile will not be visible to your friends and to other Facebook users who haven’t opted in to the dating feature. It will also not show up in the News Feed.
Next, you’ll browse Events in your city or town and Groups that match your interests. You can choose one to unlock for dating, and you will see other dating profiles that chose to unlock that surface.
You can then browse other dating profiles featuring basic information and some of their photos. Facebook will show profiles based on your mutual interests and friends, as well as other data that Facebook has on you.
If both of you are interested, you can start a conversation using a special inbox separate from Messenger and WhatsApp. At the moment, only text can be sent.
After the news was announced, shares of Tinder’s parent company Match Group fell as much as 19%.
Match Group CEO Mandy Ginsberg said that the company is “flattered that Facebook is coming into our space – and sees the global opportunity that we do – as Tinder continues to skyrocket.”
“We’re surprised at the timing given the amount of personal and sensitive data that comes with this territory,” Ginsberg’s statement read. “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. Facebook’s entry will only be invigorating to all of us.”
Could Facebook succeed in the dating space dominated by Tinder and websites like OKCupid? It’s interesting to note that dating apps like Tinder and Bumble are dependent on Facebook for data about their users.
Hopefully, Facebook’s new dating feature will be less prone to fake profiles and scammers that plague dating websites and apps. At least you’ll know that your match is residing in your city and not some distant country in Africa.