All You Need To Know About Facebook’s New Dating Feature

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mark zuckerberg speaking at conference

Mark Zuckerberg at F8 conference.  Source: Reuters

Tinder might as well be on the verge of taking it’s last breaths after Facebook CEO, Mark Zuckerberg announced that the ‘social networking giant’ will expand on it’s motto of ‘connecting people’ by entering the dating industry, which is worth 3 billion dollars as of today.

"There are 200 million people on Facebook who list themselves as single, so clearly there’s something to do here,” Mark Zuckerberg said at Facebook’s annual F8 conference on Tuesday.

Zuckerburg added that the feature "is going to be for building long term relationships—not just hook-ups,” taking an obvious dig at rival Tinder.

The same day after his announcement, Match Group, Inc. (the parent company of successful apps like Tinder and Okcupid) saw a fall of 18% in its shares. Even if you don’t understand finance, lemme tell you, it’s pretty big freakin drop.

“We’re 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,” This is what Mandy Ginsberg, CEO of Match Group, had to say in a statement after the F8 conference. 

She added that Facebook’s entry in the field will be ‘invigorating’ as her company understood the ‘dating’ category better than anyone in the industry.

But unfortunately, this statement doesn’t hold much weight as dating apps like Tinder, currently rely on the infrastructure where they register users through their Facebook profiles and even display mutual friends between matches. But Facebook plans bring in more ‘secure’ privacy features to which will give users an enhanced experience. So that means that now these apps have to compete with a giant that’s actually the very reason for their success.

Chris Cox, chief product officer at Facebook pointed out that the idea of entering the dating market was on the cards since 2016, after Zuckerburg posted a photo of a couple who met on the social network and got married, on his personal Facebook page.

Thousands of people reacted to Zuckerberg’s post with similar stories about meeting partners on Facebook. Cox said, “That’s what got the gears turning.”

As of now, sources suggest that the feature will simply be called ‘Dating’ and will be built within the Facebook app. It will allow users have a separate ‘Dating profile’ and will work with an inbox separate from their Messenger and WhatsApp (both owned by Facebook currently) where text messages can be sent and received by users.

The Interface

The look and feel of the feature appears to hold a striking resemblance to rival Tinder. The profile will list the user’s first name along with some photos and personal details like the city he/she is living in and job titles.

One large photo will cover a large portion of the mobile screen and that will be followed by some information about the user towards the bottom of the screen. There’s most likely going to be the same swiping style as Tinder’s (right swipe for liking the profile and left swipe for ignoring the profile) to keep it easy and uncomplicated to use the feature.

Also, it will show a separate ‘news feed’ for dating and will most likely be accessed from the button on the top right corner on the user’s profile, above the cover photo.

facebook dating interface

Image Credits- techcrunch.com

New Feature

The most interesting feature that’ll make Facebook dating different from it’s rivals is going to be it’s ‘unlocking’ feature which will allow users to make their profiles visible to people who are interested in the same groups and events that they like/are interested in. So you might just score a date that’ll come with you to the stand-up gig in your area you so badly wanted to attend!

The Working

Here’s how Facebook’s dating feature is expected to work in 4 steps:

1.The user will create a profile with his/her first name only. The profile will follow strict privacy standards and won’t be visible to friends and other users who are not using Facebook dating.

2.The user then gets to look through the events happening near him/her in the city along with other groups that match his/her liking and then can use the ‘unlock’ feature the one he/she wants for dating. After this, other profiles of users who are interested and have unlocked the same event or group will be shown.

3.The user can then browse through the profiles he/she is shown based on their photos and some basic information they give on their profiles. Facebook has hinted, that people will be shown profiles that match their mutual interests and other data Facebook has.

4.If two users match, they’ll be able to start text messaging in the ‘separate inbox’ that won’t connect with their Messenger or WhatsApp. To start with, Facebook will only allow text messaging keeping in mind the safety of it’s users.

Mark zuckerburg discussing facebook dating

Image Credits- indianexpress.com

The Good

1. It’s going to be an all in one app kinda thing - Like we discussed above, the feature will be integrated in the Facebook app itself. That means getting access to the feature is just an update away. You don’t even have to keep multiple apps in your phone. Less space, more utility.

2. Better Matches because of huge database - Facebook has 2 billion monthly active users and let’s face it, no dating app can achieve that! Here, the real power of Facebook comes into play. Because of the more active users than most dating apps combined, users get access to more people based on their mutual preferences and liking, which means more potential matches.

3. Has a ‘hide from friends’ option - CEO Mark Zuckerberg says Facebook Dating has been designed with privacy and safety in mind, so user’s dating profile will stay completely hidden from friends and there will be more filters which will allow users to be more in control of their dating profiles.

“I know a lot of you are going to have questions about this. We have designed this with privacy and safety in mind from the beginning. Your friends aren’t going to see your profile, and you’re only going to be suggested to people who are not your friends,’ said Zuckerberg while mentioning privacy in his F8 address.

4. Reliability - In an interview with MarketWatch, Meredith Golden, dating coach from NYC mentioned, “There are millions of singles in this demographic who want to meet someone but have reservations about using dating apps. If they’ve already been using Facebook and feel comfortable with the format, this will be an easy transition for someone re-entering the dating market." Word.

5. The ‘love science’ phenomenon - Some online algorithms have been proven to match users online better than others for long term relationships. And Facebook being Facebook, is expected to come up with accurate algorithm for users to match with like minded counterparts, just like old dating giants like eHarmony did to match users back in the day, which resulted in many successful long term arrangements between users. If you’re interested to dive deeper into nerdier algorithm stuff, here’s a 2009 research paper on eHarmony and it’s successful algorithms that led to successful marriages of users who met on the site.

6. The ‘clear history’ system - Zuckerberg emphasized that Facebook is working on a 'clear history’ privacy control that will allow users to delete all dating related browser history.

"This feature will enable you to see the websites and apps that send us information when you use them, delete this information from your account, and turn off our ability to store it associated with your account going forward," was mentioned by the company in a separate blog post. 

The Bad and Ugly

1. Privacy Issues : There’s no doubt about the fact that with Facebook, users have their share of concerns regarding privacy and the personal information it collects and uses. Especially, when the Cambridge Analytica Scandal is still fresh, many questions are raised regarding how Facebook will take care of it’s users private information. Some of them are :

• Will Facebook keep record of who one dates on the service?
• Will it have a separate data policy for the dating service?
• Will it collect data about the sexual preferences of its users?
• Will it let you block matches that might you don’t get along with?
• Will it come with a ‘report’ feature to block creeps and stalkers? (This raises many more questions in countries where women safety online is an issue)
• How will Facebook deal with such^ mishaps that are likely to go down at some point or the other?

The Nordea Funds, the US based investment company which black listed Facebook for it’s privacy threats has taken over twitter to question the social media giant’s to expand into dating, where users will have to share highly sensitive personal information.

Sasja Beslik, head of sustainable investing at Nordea Asset Management, wrote on Twitter, “Facebook needs 3 years to fix the data and privacy issues, but just found time to launch a dating feature and take on Tinder.”

The answers to all these questions haven’t been addressed by the social media giant yet.

2. Glitches in messaging program : Since the dating feature is going to come up with a separate messaging platform where users can interact via text messages, it is going the same route like it’s rivals.

Facebook is a much better, more technologically equipped platform than Tinder, hence it should focus on building a better interaction program where both users should have a more immersive and realistic experience.

Things I suggest to make the feature stand out

Here's a few things that in my opinion should be looked into before Facebook decides to launch it's new dating service, in order to ensure a great a response by users worldwide :

1. The feature should be less buggy than its rivals : If you’ve used Tinder for long enough, you’ll know what I’m talking about. The frequent crashes, matches just disappearing and reappearing by themselves, chats being lost etc. Let's just hope that Facebook takes care of all that and enters the market after fixing all the possible bugs and glitches in the app.

2. A more personalized and wider experience in viewing profiles : Why does a profile only have to be about having 6 pictures, job title and a bio? We’re in 2018 and there’s so much that’s possible, even after considering all safety realms.

•The app can come with a feature where users can choose if they want to post photos or videos in the panel. This can work great in giving a personal touch to the profile.
•There could also be a calling + video calling feature which can be unlocked once both users are comfortable to take things to the next level. This can make the feature self-reliant and reduce the need of shifting to other mediums such as exchanging phone numbers and other contact details (which a lot of people aren’t comfortable with).

Final Verdict

So there you have it.

That’s all you need to know about the next upcoming giant in the dating arena.

Will it be a completely free service? Or will it offer free and premium paid versions like it’s rivals Tinder and Bumble? We do not know as of yet.

How the feature is gonna turn out to be, only time can tell. Facebook plans to start testing 'Dating' later this year.

Have any suggestions of how you want the new feature to be like? Share with us in the comments below and once we get good responses, we’ll get in touch with Facebook and deliver your suggestions to them.

Guy looking at notebook and dancing

Till then continue with the friend requests, buddy!

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Amitoj

Dating Coach by profession. Writer by heart. Amitoj spends his free time gobbling on chicken wings and convincing people that he's a reincarnation of Shakespeare.

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