Facebook is invading Tinder’s space with a new set of dating features. It will let people opt in to creating a dating profile on Facebook. It will only be visible to non-friends who also opted into dating. Facebook will match you by a slew of preferences. And because it has more data on you than any other app, it could deliver more relevant matches. The feature will start testing later this year. [Update: Facebook launched Dating in its first market Colombia on September 20th. Read the full story here]
Facebook explains 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.” TechCrunch suggested that Facebook build a feature like this in February.
Here’s how Facebook dating will work:
- Opt in to a create a profile with just your first name. Your profile won’t be visible to friends, users who aren’t on the dating feature, and it won’t show up in the News Feed.
- You’ll browse Events in your city and Groups that match your interests. You can select to “unlock” one for dating. You’ll then see the profiles of other dating users who’ve unlocked that surface.
- You can browse through people’s profiles that show off a few of their photos plus some basic information about them. You’ll be shown people based on mutual interests and friends, plus other data Facebook has on you.
- If you both are interested, you’ll be able to start a conversation with someone in a special inbox that’s separate from Messenger and WhatsApp. For safety, only text can be sent for now.
Tons of marriages start on Facebook already, so there’s a big opportunity for the company to build long-term relationship-focused matching — opposed to apps like Tinder that focus on quick hookups. Investors clearly think Tinder is in danger, considering shares of its parent company Match Group fell 17 percent after Facebook announced its entry into dating.
Still, the question is whether Facebook has built enough barricades between its social network and new dating feature. Users might find it creepy to do it all in one app. And if they get burned by a bad experience either in the dating chat or offline, they could blame Facebook. Still, as Facebook Chief Product Officer Chris Cox explained, dating was always a natural fit for Facebook thanks to its ubiquity, data and trusted platform for identity.
At the very least, you’ll be a lot less likely to get catfished on FaceDate.
We explored how this could work in a feature piece earlier this year: