Facebook Wants to Help With Online Dating

Those not put off by Facebook’s data scandals and algorithms that show us what we don’t actually want to see will be able to use the platform to find love and romance. Sure, that has been happening pretty much since the mid-2000s, but as a by-product, and not as a result of any specific feature.

With the launch and rolling out of Dating, that is all about to change. Now, I know what you’re thinking “Has Zuckerberg and co. ever heard of Bumble, Tinder, and Grindr?”, because I thought it too. Yes, they have heard of those platforms, and put them all down to meaningless hook-ups. Their shiny, new service, they say, is all about love and romance and long-term, meaningful relationships.

How It Works

Available only on Facebook Mobile, Dating does not require users to create a new account. That said, it only ports your first name and your age, so, basically, you need to create a whole new profile.

Some information is required, while other is optional. The stuff required from you is your gender, the gender/s of people you want to meet, and your verified location. If you feel like it, you can include your height, your religious beliefs, your place of employment and job title, where you schooled, and whether you come with attachments, i.e. children. You can then upload as many as 9 different photos, or you can choose from 20 Facebook-supplied icebreaker questions. Keep reading, and you’ll find out how this works, and why it could be a good thing.

When your Dating profile is done, and you are ready to rumble, the platform uses an algorithm to suggest potential matches within a 100km radius. While the basic algorithm takes common interests and mutual friends into account, you can set it to include factors such as age brackets, religion, or whether they have children.

If you aren’t interested in a suggested match, you need to tap the Not Interested button. However, if you change your mind, the Second Look feature lets you do just that – take another look at their profile. If you like the look of the suggested person, forget about trying to start a conversation with a one-word “hi” or “hey”. You will need to respond to one of their icebreaker questions, or say something about one of their photos. If you do meet someone, or need a break from the Dating world, you can put your profile on pause.

Ok, so this none of this is totally unique to Facebook, but it does sound promising. I can, of course, see a few pros and cons to the new service.

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Facebook Dating Pros

There’s nothing to download, and no need to create an account. I don’t know about you, but I’m over giving so many of my personal details to so many different companies and services.

Your Facebook friends and anyone you have blocked will not be suggested as matches. Also, if a Dating match can’t take no for an answer, you can report and block them just as you would on the main site.

The new service encourages proper communication. There’s no swiping, and there are none of those effortless “Hey” or, worse, emoji introductions. We’re all worth the effort of a proper greeting and introduction.

The service has a separate inbox, so there is no chance of them getting mixed up with the conversations in Facebook Messenger. The last thing anyone needs is to send a flirty message to their cousin or a colleague.

Now For the Dating Cons

You need to create a new profile. Yes, you are going to have to fill in information you’ve already filled in 1000 times on profiles on other services.

You need to make an effort when contacting someone for the first time. For the painfully shy or those who lack self-confidence, this could be a nightmarish task.

You cannot send photos or links (or payments, for that matter) in Dating messages. If you want to do that, you need to use another service or give them your phone number, which could be an even greater security risk.

All in all, Dating looks promising. That’s if you are willing to trust Facebook with your love life.

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