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Is Facebook's Dating App Capable Of Ghosting Tinder? 5 Facts About Mark Zuckerberg's Matchmaking Goals

How Will Facebook's Dating App Work? 5 Facts About The Matchmaking Features Set To Compete With Tinder & Bumble
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Here's how the new dating features are expected to work.

Just weeks after an intense few days being questioned by members of the United States Congress, Mark Zuckberg took a far more comfortable stand opening up Facebook's annual F8 developer's conference, making the jaw-dropping announcement that the social media giant is taking on online dating site giants like Tinder, OkCupid, and Bumble by jumping into the dating app and matchmaking services game.

"These are some of the moments that I'm really proud of what we're doing, right," said Zuckerberg. "I know that we're making a positive difference in people's lives. But you know the reality is today, you know we haven't even built any features to help people find partners. You know, there are 200 million people on Facebook who list themselves a single, so clearly there's something to do here. And if we're focused on helping people build meaningful relationships then this is perhaps the most meaningful of all. So today, we are announcing a new set of features, coming soon, around dating!"

Some may see this is as further proof that Facebook is on target to take over the world, and it's an easy conspiracy theory to buy into, as far as conspiracy theories go. After all, try naming one other company out there with as much access to personal information and potentially sensitive, critical data.

Here, I'll help you. There isn't one.

 

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Facebook users are a textbook example of a cash cow for the fine folks at Facebook HQ, and as much as they can milk that proverbial cow without landing in prison along the way, milk it they shall.

Sometimes, this feels infuriating, scary and not a little bit violating, while at others, innovations developed by the undeniable genius of Mark Zuckerberg and his team are the epitome of what it means to be helpful, smart, and community-minded.

While I may be in the current minority, I personally believe Facebook's latest announcement that they are introducing their own online dating platform falls into the second category.

I'm not dumb. I'm mindful about my privacy online, and I know that the people at Facebook aren't exactly angels.

But I'm also a writer and a professional giver of advice on love, dating and relationships, and in my opinion, for the many people who still feel too scared to give dating apps a try, Facebook's dating functions could offer exactly the solution they've been needing, right there in front of them on a community-based platform they already know and are part of.

What's not to love, right?

Of course, I haven't seen the app or any concrete examples of how it will work yet, but semantics.

While we're all waiting (and Facebook promises the app will be launched later this year) here are five facts to know about the Facebook Dating program and how it could effect both your love life and your overall experience on social media.

1. What is even happening?

On May 1, everyone's favorite CEO and founder of Facebook, Mark Zuckerberg, gave the Keynote address at the F8 developer's conference in San Jose, during which he made the pretty darn major announcement that Facebook is jumping into the dating app game!

In many respects, this is merely a logical next step. After all, Zuckerberg's first foray into personal tech involved rating his fellow Harvard coeds in relation to their level of hotness.

It only goes to follow that eventually, Facebook would no longer be able to avoid it's predestined foray into the world of online dating.

2. Match Group is already taking a major hit.

Practically the moment after the announcement left MZ's mouth, Wall Street was feeling the burn.

As reported on CNN, "Shares of Match Group — the parent company of dating platforms like Tinder, Match.com and OKCupid — plunged as much as 22% on Tuesday afternoon following the news. Shares of IAC/InterActiveCorp, the majority owner of Match, also fell 11%."

Facebook might be theoretically new to the dating app market, but you can't deny that the volume of their users — most recently estimated at 2.2 billion monthly active users and growing — gives them instant access to an audience that's already chomping at the bit.

 

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3. Protecting users privacy will be a top priority.

If you feel understandably concerned that your massive network of Facebook friends will now know even more about your love life than you already overshare with them anyway, fret not.

Facebook is well aware they have their own part to play in rebuilding trust, so much so that Zuckerberg spoke to the issue directly during his announcement.

"It's going to be in the Facebook app," Zuckerberg explained, "but it's totally optional. Its opt-in. If you want, you can make a dating profile, and I know a lot of you are going to have questions about this so I want to be clear that we have designed this with privacy and safety in mind from the beginning. Your friends aren’t going to see your profile. You’re only going to be suggested people who are NOT your friends, who've opted into dating [and] who fit your preferences."

4. Serious inquiries only, please.

If the folks at Facebook, prudes that they are, get their way, their dating features will be catered to those looking to invest in serious, long-term relationships and marriage. No casual flings here, friends!

“This is going to be for building real, long-term relationships, alright, not just hookups,” Zuckerberg assured the audience (who notably responded with gales of laughter rather than applause).

Some were quick to jump on Zuckerberg's statements for seeming to imply the new features will be geared exclusively toward Facebook users identifying as "single" in their relationship status. By the following day, however, the Verge "[clarified] that Facebook is not in fact excluding users based on relationship status info," so all currently remains well for those who are polyamorous or otherwise enjoy open relationships.

5. Community-building and integration will be guiding principles.

Perhaps the most interesting thing about this new development also happens to be the most obvious thing: roots firmly planted in building community.

Not only does it appear that Facebook intends to follow in the footsteps of apps like Coffee Meets Bagel and Hinge, which find potential matches from among two users' mutual friends, but it will also integration existing Facebook features such as "events" and "groups."

Here's how TechCrunch says the dating service is expected to work (pending testing expected to begin soon):

  • "Opt in to a create a profile with just your first name. Your profile won’t be visible to friends, users who aren’t on the dating feature, and it won’t show up in the News Feed.
  • You’ll browse Events in your city and Groups that match your interests. You can select to “unlock” one for dating. You’ll then see the profiles of other dating users who’ve unlocked that surface.
  • You can browse through people’s profiles that show off a few of their photos plus some basic information about them. You’ll be shown people based on mutual interests and friends, plus other data Facebook has on you.
  • If you both are interested, you’ll be able to start a conversation with someone in a special inbox that’s separate from Messenger and WhatsApp. For safety, only text can be sent for now."

What may be the coolest feature ever is something called "unlocking," which Facebook Chief Product Officer Chris Cox says "will let any user of Facebook’s dating platform make his or her profile visible to other attendees of events or members of groups. From there, messaging takes place in distinct chat threads separate from Facebook Messenger."

Frankly, this, to me, is what makes the entire endeavor sound the most exciting ... as long as you're cool with Facebook handling yet one more aspect of your private life.

 

RELATED: 4 Ways Facebook Is Finally Making It Easier To Get Over Your Ex

 

Rebecca Jane Stokes is a writer living in Brooklyn, New York with her cat, Batman. She hosts the love and dating advice show, Becca After Dark on YourTango's Facebook Page every Tuesday and Thursday at 10:15 pm Eastern. For more of her work, check out her Tumblr.

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