For years, dating on Facebook has been sequestered to direct messaging your crush, seeing if you have common friends via Tinder, or most ruthlessly, employing the endlessly creepy “Poke” feature. But Facebook is getting into the data game, CEO Mark Zuckerberg announced Tuesday.
Rather than poking for love, users will soon be swiping for love. During the company’s F8 developer conference in San Jose, California, Zuckerberg unveiled a dating feature that the social network will release on its mobile app in the next few months.
The 14-year-old platform has allowed users to list their relationship status since its public launch in February 2004. Roughly 200 million people (out of 2.20 billion monthly active users) list themselves as “Single” on Facebook. Zuckerberg took this statistic as a calling to take up the role of Cupid.
Since so many dating apps use Facebook to connect you with people, it’s easy to ask why Facebook didn’t do this sooner. Since so many dating apps use Facebook to connect you with people, it’s easy to ask why Facebook didn’t do this sooner. Facebook is an 800-pound gorilla and it seems that dating apps will need to work on releasing differentiating features if they want to retain single users and find new ones.
Facebook Dating: Zuckerberg Promises Privacy
“This is going to be for building real, long-term relationships — not just for hookups,” he said about the completely optional feature. “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.”
Other dating networks like Tinder, Bumble, and Coffee Meets Bagel all use Facebook data to populate profiles each app. This announcement was Zuckerberg cutting out the middlemen to have people search for partners among the site’s 2.2 billion monthly active users. However, this new dating feature is positioning itself to be slightly different than all the other competition.
Facebook product chief Chris Cox stepped onto the stage after Zuckerberg to expand how dating of the platform would look like:
Facebook Dating: It Will be Private!
Don’t sweat it, none of your friends will be able to see how thirsty you’re acting online. That’ll be between you and your perspective matches. Your dating profile will be completely separate from your Facebook profile, and invisible to your friends. So unlike Tinder, you don’t have to worry about accidentally swiping right on your ex’s roommate.
Facebook Dating: Events and Groups are Key
This dating feature will use Facebook Events and Groups to determine if you and your perspective matches share a favorite band or sports team. Instead of swiping through everyone using the app near your location, you’ll be able to “unlock” your dating profile to other users attending events or that are members of certain groups.
Cox believes this will make for more meaningful connections because it gives people a simple thing to talk about, like a concert or a movie premiere. “It’s important to use to mirror how people actually date in real life,” he says.
Facebook Dating: Couples Won’t Have Access to It
Both Zuckerberg and Cox said they will be releasing more information about dating on Facebook in the coming months. So until then,, just keep on swiping.