What do you do when a company can’t figure out how to respect your privacy? You should trust it with your love life of course. Or, at least, that’s what Facebook wants its 170 million U.S. users to think.
Starting Thursday, the company’s free Dating feature will launch for American users. Though it became available for a test run in Colombia more than a year ago and is now available in 20 countries, the newest geographical addition will serve as its make-or-break moment. The fact that the feature has expanded so quickly so fast suggests that users like it.
Swiper No Swiping
One major differentiator between Facebook Dating and other apps like Tinder and Hinge is that it doesn’t revolve around a “swipe” feature. In fact, it doesn’t give users the option to swipe at all. Instead, singles will find matches among friends of friends and random strangers. Regardless, users can set up a Dating profile separate from their main account with a single tap.
Another thing that makes Facebook Dating unique is that it won’t feature any in-app purchases, ads, or fees. Thanks to Facebook’s sprawling digital infrastructure, it doesn’t really need to charge for the feature. It’s nice to see that the company won’t be trying to take advantage of the hopeless romantics out there.
Product manager Nathan Sharp gave some insight on why Facebook Dating isn’t like all the other apps out there. He says, “We didn’t want to include anything around swiping or games. Facebook Dating is about conversations.”
The feature will also integrate naturally with Facebook’s Groups and Events. This will allow users to find matches based on their interests, hobbies, and the local gatherings they plan to attend.
Secret Crushin’ On Safety
Another novel feature of Facebook Dating is the new “Secret Crush” option. This will let singles add nine of their Facebook friends or Instagram followers that they have their eye on to a secret list. If that friend happens to have you on their list, you’re in luck.
Even though it is far more mainstream, online dating is still a safety concern for many. Fortunately, Facebook is taking steps to help ease these qualms. Dating will let users tap a shield icon that shares details about their date with a friend. They can also share their live location so that friend or family member can make sure nothing fishy is going on. Of course, Facebook will probably be watching too.
For people fed up with the current state of online dating, Facebook Dating might be a welcome breath of fresh air. Just remember to keep tabs on the personal info that the company has on you before digitally whispering sweet nothings to a potential romantic partner.
Singles hoping to try out the new feature will find it as a new tab within the Facebook mobile app.