The company said its dating service, Dating, is finally launched in the United States on Thursday, more than a year after the company first announced the show.
If that sounds unusually slow for the company that once had the motto “move fast and break things,” you’re right.
“We have been very slow, actually, with this release,” Charmaine Hung, product manager at Facebook Dating, told CNN. “We really wanted to make sure we did well because the appointments are very personal.”
The United States is now the 20th country to have access to Dating. The feature allows anyone with a Facebook account over 18 to set up an appointment profile from the mobile application.
Facebook’s decision to move to the dating space may seem somewhat brazen or deaf. For more than a year, the social media company has been criticized for its data privacy practices, especially with the Cambridge Analytica scandal.
Now Facebook is asking users to trust him with one of the most intimate activities they do online: search for love.
Dating takes out the name and age of a Facebook account. But beyond that, the company says that the two profiles are largely separated.
For example, people can choose to share photos posted on Facebook or Instagram on their Dating profile, or add Instagram followers to the Secret Love Dating function, which allows you to indicate crushes between Facebook friends and, as of Thursday, Instagram followers, to see if the feelings are mutual.
Dating creates a new competition in the market of dating applications already copied in which companies, such as Bumble and Tinder and Hinge, owned by IAC, compete to help people find connections. In recent years, many dating applications have stopped asking their users to log in with Facebook credentials in an attempt to rely less on the social media giant.
Shares of Match Group, which has dating services such as Tinder, Match and OkCupid, fell up to 6% in the first operations on Thursday. The company’s shares fell approximately 20% on the day Facebook first announced the dating function in 2018.
Like Hinge, Dating does not use the side swipe functionality popularized by Tinder. Instead, people have to touch to like a person’s profile.
Notably, the messaging function within Dating is text only, there are no photos, videos, payments or shared links, moving away from some other dating applications.
“We know that inappropriate photos and videos can really ruin people’s dating experiences. Therefore, we want to make sure that you can build trust with someone before, of course, moving on to your chat service of choice,” Hung told CNN Business.
It also offers a security feature where a user can share the location of an upcoming appointment or live location with a friend on his Messenger platform, so that his whereabouts can be traced.
While 200 million people on Facebook mention their relationship status as “Single,” anyone, regardless of their stated relationship status, can sign up for Dating.
However, those who have previously violated community standards, or who are otherwise considered suspicious, will not be able to access Dating, Hung said.
Like some dating services, people can set preferences based on factors such as distance, age, religion and height. People can also control whether an appointment profile is shown to friends, friends of friends and not friends. It also allows preventive blocking of specific Facebook users.
Hung said the company does not have a specific target market for Dating. “We want to build appointments for everyone,” Hung said, adding that he hopes to attract those who have been afraid to use online dating in the past.