One of the most talked-about announcements to come out of Facebook’s 2018 F8 Summit is that the social media site will be branching into the dating world.
Starting sometime next year, users will be able to create dating profiles and look for love beyond their group of Facebook friends.
It’s a development that in some ways seems overdue. Facebook is a site designed for making and building connections, and, for better or for worse, it already has all of the information it needs to make detailed matches. In his keynote address, Mark Zuckerberg quipped, “There are 200 million people on Facebook who list themselves as single, so clearly there’s something to do here.”
So how will Facebook’s new dating service work? Mock-up images shared at the F8 Summit showed that users will be able to access a new “dating home” from their profile. From there, you can create a dating profile with a few pictures and basic information such as your occupation and education. This profile will be sealed off from your Facebook friends but visible to a local dating pool of others who have chosen to opt in.
From there, Facebook has chosen to orient connections around events and groups. You’ll be able to browse real-world events and interest groups that are located nearby. Then, you choose a group or event to unlock. “Unlocking” an event shares your profile with others who have chosen that event, and you’ll be able to browse others' profiles.
From there, you can start a private conversation with someone who sparks your interest. The conversations will be text-only, setting Facebook apart from other dating apps, where sharing photos is the norm.
The idea is to bring people together based on common interests and real-world activities. Facebook’s algorithm will use mutual friends, similar likes, and past events attended to match participants. The goal is to facilitate long-term relationships, rather than hook-ups.
The big question is: will users want to date on Facebook? Particularly in the wake of Facebook’s latest privacy scandal, it may feel a bit creepy to let a website that already knows so much about you connect you with potential romantic partners.
However, the reaction so far has been mostly positive. Within hours of Facebook’s announcement, stock prices Match Group, which owns March.com, Tinder, and OkCupid, went down. Investors, at least, are anticipating a lot of interest in Facebook dating.
Perhaps for a service where people already spend a lot of their time socializing, dating seems like a natural fit.