Facebook is officially getting into the dating business.
The social network’s CEO announced at the F8 conference that it would soon launch Facebook Dating, a service that would allow people on Facebook to meet new people “not just for hookups” and potentially form real relationships with them.
While we only know the basics so far, it was clearly enough to rattle the dating industry as Match (the owner of Tinder and Match.com) saw its shares drop 17% following the news.
So will Facebook Dating compete with Tinder? How will it work? Is it going to be free or will I have to pay? To help answer these questions here’s everything we know so far about Facebook Dating:
It’s free and it’s completely optional
Facebook Dating will run within the Facebook app so you won’t need to download anything separate. It’s also completely optional so you won’t even see it unless you want to start using it.
Unlike Tinder or Match.com it’s also completely free and there are no plans as yet to introduce a monetised version of the app.
It will only suggest people who aren’t your friends
One thing to highlight here is that the dating part of the Facebook app will be completely separate from your Facebook profile. Your friends won’t know you’ve created a dating profile (unless you tell them) and Zuckerberg was really keen to stress that Facebook’s Dating algorithm won’t suggest any direct friends.
We don’t yet know how Facebook will pick prospective partners for you other than that it will suggest people who are friends of friends. It could then also have a geographical filter or age filter like Tinder but we simply don’t know yet.
It’ll actually help you start the conversation
Just like Tinder or any other dating app Facebook Dating will ask you to list your interests, it’s likely that it’ll pull this information from your own Facebook Profile.
There’s also some fun little widgets in there too like “cats or dogs” or “tea or coffee” that you can list on your profile.
Once you’ve matched with someone the app will actually show you their interests and then let you start a conversation based around one of those interests.
We still don’t know how matches are approved, but judging by the screens we’ve seen so far it looks likely that it will work in much the same way Tinder does requiring both parties to tap ‘Interested’ on the other.
You can send text-only private messages
So as with any dating app there’s a conversations section where you can chat with your matches.
Facebook claims they will be private messages, although it’s not clear if that means they’ll be encrypted as well (like WhatsApp). They will also be text-only by the looks of it so no pictures or videos.
Finally there looks to be another section called Events and Groups where people will be able to talk and meet over shared interests in an event e.g. a music gig.