Can you believe that Facebook is dipping into the dating app industry?
You’re probably just as shocked as we were, but nearly a year ago, Facebook started testing out its new dating app in Colombia, and yesterday (Sept. 5), the addition was made available in the U.S.
The newest Facebook product is only accessible to users 18 and older, and it will be an extension to the previously existing app, displayed as a new tab within the Facebook mobile app.
Those interested in trying out the new dating app will be able to create a profile separate from their main Facebook profile. With just one tap, they can meet potential romantic partners. If that doesn’t float your boat, you’ll be able to meet singles completely outside of your existing friend network.
Facebook says it will suggest matches based on preferences expressed, along with your interests and Facebook activity as well as the creation of your profile. The app allows you to send a “like” and a corresponding message to profiles you encounter on the service.
You won’t see your Facebook friends in the ad-free app unless you use the “secret crush” feature, which lets you indicate interest to up to nine Facebook friends or Instagram followers. If you both like each other, you’ll get a notification letting you know. “Probably one of the best notifications of their life,” product manager Nathan Sharp told The Verge.
“We didn’t want to include anything around swiping or games,” Sharp said. “Facebook Dating is about conversations.”
People planning to attend the same Facebook events might show up in your matches as Facebook groups and events are integrated.
Facebook Dating also has a potentially powerful feature to protect users’ safety: with a single tap of a shield icon, you’ll be able to share details of an upcoming date with a friend or family member using Facebook Messenger, as well as temporarily sharing your live location. That way, loved ones will be able to keep tabs on you when you’re meeting a new person.
Besides being released in the United States, Facebook Dating is available in 20 countries including Brazil, Canada, Chile, Columbia, Ecuador, Guyana, Laos, Malaysia, Mexico, Paraguay, Peru, Philippines, Singapore, Suriname, Thailand, Uruguay and Vietnam.
Thus far, Facebook has found that 40% of the people who use dating apps are unsatisfied with their current dating app and have brought the product to 20 countries in less than a year, which suggests that it has been popular with early users.
The company has yet to share statistics, but it is aware of engagements and marriages that have taken place between people who met on the app, Sharp said.