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Facebook Is Ready To Use All Your Data To Help You Find Love


Canadians who are tired of Tinder and bored of Bumble now have a new online dating option: Facebook. Hey, they already have all your data — why not use it to help you get a date?

The company announced its intention to get into the dating space at a developer conference this spring, which promptly sent shares plunging in competing online dating companies and apps.

In September, Facebook launched its dating platform exclusively in Colombia. As of Thursday, its also live in Canada and Thailand.

Facebook hopes to steer clear of the reputation that plagues some dating apps for simply enabling hookups, instead of fostering meaningful relationships, said Facebook Datings program manager Charmaine Hung.

Echoing CEO Mark Zuckerbergs May announcement, Hung says the company is against the “gamification” of online dating. On the new feature, youll have to scroll through a persons entire profile before hitting “Interested” or “Pass” — no swiping.

How it works

Facebook Dating will operate within the Facebook app, but in a messaging system separate from Facebook Messenger. Your first name and age will be pulled from your existing Facebook profile, but youre free to build the rest of your dating profile from scratch.

Facebook Dating borrows some features from existing dating apps and websites. Much like Hinge, users can answer questions provided by the app meant to give prospective partners insight into someones interests and tastes. For example, it asks daters to “describe your perfect day.”

Initial messages have to be related to a specific aspect of someones profile to avoid exchanges that simply start with “Hey” or “Whats up.” Users are encouraged to say things like, “What a gorgeous landscape, where was that photo taken?” or “My perfect day is alsowatching Waynes World on repeat seven times!”

Unlike Bumble or Tinder, where messaging can only start once both people have indicated theyre interested in one another, you can message someone on Facebook Dating before theyve made it clear theyre also interested in you — but only once. They have to “like” you back before you can send a second message.

Who youll be matched with

Youll be shown prospective matches based on an algorithm that takes into account your preferences for gender, age and location, the interests youve “liked” on Facebook, the groups youre in, and the events youve attended.

You wont be matched with any of your current Facebook friends. The company wants to avoid accidentally suggesting people date their uncle or their employees, Hung said, and developers assumed that people may have already considered dating their other Facebook friends.

The service will initially show you matches with whom you have mutual friends, but you have the option to turn that feature off — Hung says that came from consultations with LGBTQ groups who suggested some queer people may not be out to all of their friends.

Hung also said a priority for the Canadian market was offering a variety of gender options, including “trans man,” “trans woman,” and “non-binary/two-spirit.”

How it hopes to compete in the crowded online dating market

Facebook is hoping data about the groups that users belong to and events they attend will give its dating platform an edge other apps dont have. It will help match users by interest, Hung said: “Its like a singles room for all the groups youre in.”

Youll also have the option to “unlock” dating on events you plan to attend, allowing you to see potential matches who will also be at an upcoming concert or party youre going to.

A work in progress

Facebook Datings Canadian launch will include two features that werent in the products initial launch in Colombia in September. “Second Look” will allow you to reconsider matches youve previously rejected, while “Pause Matching” lets you keep talking with your current matches while giving you a break from talking to new people.

Facebook is confident about its product, but Hung says the company is also hoping the Canadian and Thai launches will provide them with lots of feedback and information they can use before launching in the U.S. at some point in the future.

“Its definitely still a work in progress,” she said.

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