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Spoiler alert: It won’t be a new app.
There have been rumblings that Facebook has been working on a dating app for some time now, and in May, the social network gave us a first glimpse at its F8 developer conference. Now we’re starting to learn more about the Facebook dating feature. Are you ready to start using Facebook to find your soulmate?
Here’s what we know so far about the service, set to debut later this year.
What is Facebook Dating?
Facebook Dating isn’t just a rumor—it’s a legitimate project Facebook has confirmed it is working on. Mark Zuckerberg announced Facebook Dating onstage at F8 in May. It’s a platform designed to facilitate “real, long-term relationships … not just hookups,” CEO Mark Zuckerberg said during the event. Some 200 million Facebook users self-describe themselves as single, so Zuckerberg decided the social network should do something about it.
Facebook’s dating features won’t be a separate app but rather optional features built into the main Facebook experience.
What we know about Facebook Dating so far
At F8, Zuckerberg and Chris Cox, Facebook’s chief product officer, offered a glimpse at Facebook Dating. It will reportedly work like this: Users will set up a new, separate dating profile alongside their existing Facebook account. This dating profile will only show your first name to potential matches and connect you with non-friends who have also opted into the dating feature. The activities on the dating side of the app will be completely separate from your normal Facebook experience, so you won’t have to worry about a “Jane Smith just matched with Antonio Martinez” scenario. It’s supposedly designed with privacy and safety in mind “from the beginning.”
The dating platform will have a separate messaging inbox from your usual Facebook inbox, and early messaging will be text only; you won’t be able to share photos or links, which is good news for preventing unwanted nudes or spam from circulating.
Leaked screen grabs
Last week, Mashable got its hands on a couple of screenshots showing Facebook Dating in action from some internal tests. These were first posted to Twitter by app researcher Jane Manchun Wong.
Facebook is internally testing Facebook Dating.
I can't go past the signup screen because they are not activating all non-employee Dating profiles because, well, it's "pre-launch" 😉 pic.twitter.com/VQFHUJIkuX
— Jane Manchun Wong (@wongmjane) August 3, 2018
From the images, it looks like the process begins by explaining that current Facebook friends will be unable to see your dating profile, but you can choose whether people with mutual friends can see your profile or not. Next, you can select your gender (male, female, or tap a button for additional options such as non-binary, transgender woman, or trans man). Next, you can select which gender type you’re interested in seeing, with the same options available. After that, you can select your current city and review your profile info before officially creating your account.
Other details about Facebook Dating
TechCrunch also learned information from Facebook about this dating feature. First, it will be limited to users 18-years-old and up, and abide by local U.S. laws on what constitutes an adult.
In order to prevent spam-like behavior, Facebook is also considering limiting the number of people you can show interest in. And if you decide to block someone on Dating, at the moment it will not block them on the main Facebook app, but TechCrunch notes that its privacy decision isn’t final yet.
Reportedly, Facebook doesn’t plan to monetize Facebook Dating at this point. It doesn’t plan to offer paid subscriptions, and for now won’t show ads in Dating, either.
Facebook is currently testing the feature internally, according to these screen grabs and reports, but employees are reminded that it shouldn’t be used for dating co-workers.
Christina Bonnington is a tech reporter who specializes in consumer gadgets, apps, and the trends shaping the technology industry. Her work has also appeared in Gizmodo, Wired, Refinery29, Slate, Bicycling, and Outside Magazine. She is based in the San Francisco Bay Area and has a background in electrical engineering.