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Facebook introduces dating feature to match you with non-friends

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The app is about to provide yet another service for users.

An eager smile spread across Mark Zuckerberg’s face at the F8 Facebook Developer Conference on Tuesday as the CEO announced a new set of dating features coming soon to the scandal-beleaguered social network.

“Now, this is going to be for building real, long-term relationships, alright, not just hookups,” Zuckerberg told the conference crowd.

Zuckerberg spoke about the overwhelming number of people who have met on Facebook and end up in marriages, but said 200 million users still declare that they are single on the app. Facebook decided it needed to do something about that, Zuckerberg said.

The network is now building new dating features into the Facebook app that will be “totally optional” for users. The idea for the features came from the realization that Facebook is making a positive difference in the lives of people and needs to go further in promoting meaningful relationships.

“Did you know that 1 in 3 marriages in the United States start online?” Zuckerberg asked the audience. “But the reality is, today, we haven’t even built any features to help people find partners.”

The features, set to roll out later this year, were further discussed by Chris Cox, Facebook’s Chief Product Officer.

Here’s how they will work: You can set up a new Dating profile on Facebook that is separate from your normal Facebook profile. Your Dating profile shows your first name only and matches you only to non-friends who have also opted into the Dating space. You won’t see any existing Facebook friends as potential matches and your activity won’t be shared with your friends on Facebook or in places like News Feed.

“We have designed this with privacy and safety in mind from the beginning,” Zuckerberg said.

The app will model real life in the sense that the more active your communities are, the better chance you have of meeting new people. Users can get more active by unlocking individual events or groups to see potential matches. Just like Tindr, the features will include a separate messaging inbox. However, the app is taking a step further with user safety to show text-only communications in early chats, meaning people can’t send photos or links while messaging for the first time.

Settings like this are meant to make people feel safe and connected, but users have cause to be concerned in the wake of data breaches and fake news. As you can imagine, the announcement prompted conversations about how comfortable (or uncomfortable) users might be with integrating social network into their dating lives.

While there seems to be general skepticism about Facebook’s move into romance, some users were quick to admit that “dick pic-proof messaging” is something we can all get on board with.

Grace Speas

Grace Speas

Grace Speas is a news reporter, covering streaming entertainment, internet culture, and viral politics.