Watch: Why Facebook is getting into the dating game.
Facebook is dipping its toes into the dating app industry by launching its own dating feature to rival existing apps such as Tinder, Hinge and Bumble.
Facebook Dating, which has just launched in the UK and Europe, appears as an opt-in space within the social media network’s app and website, which will enable users to create a separate dating profile.
The social media site aims to provide a space to “help more people find meaningful relationships through things they have in common, like interests, events and groups”.
Wannabe daters can share their Facebook and Instagram stories to their profiles to give potential matches a better idea of who they are and how they live their life.
There is also a “Secret Crush” feature which enables users to select up to nine of their existing friends on Facebook and Instagram they secretly fancy.
But before you panic about the can of worms this could potentially open, Facebook says crushes will only be alerted if both parties match, otherwise the selection remains completely anonymous.
So if your crush isn’t on Dating, doesn’t create a Secret Crush list or doesn’t put you on their list, then they will have absolutely no idea you’ve entered their name.
You can also choose to see other people with similar interests who are using Facebook Dating, by opting in to add your events and groups to your profile.
If, for example, you’re looking for a fellow dog lover, you can choose to see others using Dating who are also in the pet owner groups you’re in.
Watch: Sam Smith reveals why they were kicked off dating app Hinge.
Once a couple have matched, as with other traditional dating apps, they can start an instant messaging chat.
Facebook has also included a video chat feature, which will give people the option of having a “virtual date” if restrictions mean it is difficult to get together in person.
The social media site says its Dating function has been built with safety, security and privacy at the forefront of its design.
Facebook has worked with experts to provide easy access to safety tips and build in protections, including the ability to report and block people, as well as stopping people from sending photos, links, payments or videos in messages.
Reassuringly, for those who’d rather keep their dating activity private, your Dating profile, Dating messages, and who you like or match with in Dating won’t appear on your Facebook News Feed and your Facebook friends won’t be notified that you’ve joined Dating.
Facebook Dating first launched in 2018 in 20 countries and since then they say over 1.5 billion matches have been created.