Facebook is finally launching a dating app. In case you’ve been living under a rock for the last 10 years, anytime the third most popular website in the world does anything, it’s going to make a huge impact. And from what we’ve seen so far, Facebook Dating could be the best dating app yet to hit the market. Why? Read on to find out.
What is Facebook Dating?
You heard correctly, Facebook is launching a new dating feature, simply called “Facebook Dating.” We don’t know when the app will go live (Recode estimates testing will begin in the coming months), but they made the announcement May 1st at their annual developers conference, F8.
Reaction to the news was immediate: stock in Match group, Tinder’s parent company, dropped 22%, and the internet exploded. But what does this mean for you? In this blog I’m gonna cut through the noise and tell you everything that you need to know about Facebook’s new dating app.
The Tinder Killer?
Why is Facebook interested in making a dating app?
In his keynote address, CEO Mark Zuckerberg put it this way, “...we’re focused on helping people build meaningful relationships, [and] this is perhaps the most meaningful one of all.”
This is an extremely logical move for Facebook.
Think about this: most dating apps already rely on Facebook to make setting up a profile as seamless as possible.
Facebook Dating cuts out the middle-man, increases app engagement, and lets Facebook harvest more of that sweet, sweet data. And speaking of data…
What about privacy?
Both Zuckerberg and Facebook’s Chief Product Officer Chris Cox stressed that Facebook Dating was built with privacy in mind. They emphasized that:
Your Facebook Dating profile, and conversations will remain completely separate from your main Facebook profile.
Your Facebook friends won’t be able to see your dating profile, and you won’t be able to see theirs.
Facebook dating is opt in only, it won’t interfere with the Facebook experience of people who aren’t interested in dating.
What Facebook Dating looks like
In his F8 speech Cox shared the first images of Facebook Dating, and broke down how it’ll all work.
Most of it looks like any other dating app (maybe one app in particular), but there is one pretty cool innovation we’ll hit on below. Let’s take a look.
Within your current Facebook app, you’ll see a “dating” button in the top right corner.
Once inside, you’ll set up your dating profile.
One thing of note here is that in addition to the usual dating profile stuff, (your age, a bio, education and employment info), you’ll also be able to include answers to questions like whether or not your have siblings, whether you prefer dogs or cats, and even your political leanings.
You know, to avoid those oh so typical Facebook political debates.
After you match the app will ask you to pick something from their profile to start a conversation.
This is where Facebook Dating seems to actually set things in right - way above and beyond other dating apps.
If you’ve been following Zirby, you already know that the most effective way to send an opening message is to pick out one thing from their bio or photos and reference it.
Facebook has baked this in, right from the get-go. It means there will be more meaningful first messages, and hopefully less fatigue from female users.
Cox stated that they hope asking users to start a conversation based on a profile item will encourage a “more meaningful interaction.” And if that statement has you thinking...
Wait, isn’t this just Hinge?
Well, you’re not the only person who’s noticed this.
In addition to design similarities, both apps allow you to start conversations based off of profile items, and respond to specific questions in your profile.
Zuckerberg also stated that he hopes Facebook Dating will lead to, “real, long term relationships. Not just hookups.” This echoes Hinge’s claims that they are “anti-swipe, and pro dating.”
When asked for comment, Hinge’s vice president of product, Tim MacGougan, said in an email to Wired Magazine…
“When the Hinge team saw the similarity between our designs, particularly the profile and liking interaction, we congratulated each other. It’s gratifying to have one of the world’s biggest technology companies enter the dating space and draw so much inspiration from Hinge.”
So what is new here?
Another cool Facebook Dating innovation is that it’s integrated into Facebook Groups and Facebook Events.
You’ll also see event and group suggestions based on your location and interests which will make conversations even more smooth.
When you find an event or a group that you like, you’ll be able to “unlock” the event.
That means that your dating profile will be available to people who are also interested in the event or group that have also unlocked the event.
After this, matching and messaging works just like it does on any app.
Cox stated that they like the events and groups integration because “it mirrors that way that people actually date, which is usually at events or institutions they’re connected to.”
We also see the promise here; what’s an easier first date or conversation starter than an event you’re both independently interested in?
Facebook’s integration of groups, events, and conversations starters, combined with their already established massive clientele base and social influence gives Facebook Dating huge potential.
We won’t know exactly how it’ll pan out until after it launches, but we love what we’re seeing so far, and no matter what develops, you can count on us to keep you updated.
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Even more exciting, when the Facebook Dating app is released we'll be reviewing what it's all about with screenshots included.