Move aside Tinder: Facebook is stepping onto Tinder’s turf, and Thailand is one of its first blind dates.
The social media giant yesterday launched “Facebook Dating” both here and in Canada (we know, a bit of an odd coupling). The new function is embedded in the Facebook app and aims — in theory — to help online users search for long-term partners.
Before you get too excited, the feature is currently only available for Android users — though the company guarantees that an iOS version is soon to follow, according to Tech Offside.
How does it work? Gather around, folks, this will not be quick.
First off, to use the feature, users must create a new profile, separate from their Facebook account, out of sight from their friends and family. The platform will then recommend matches that aren’t already on the user’s friend list based on their shared interests, dating preferences, groups or events, and, if they like, mutual friends.
Instead of swiping and liking, users can send messages to a person they’re interested in based on photos or the answers to various questions on their dating profiles. If the recipient responds, the conversation is started — like Bumble, users can’t send a second message until they receive a response.
Much as with other dating apps, users can specify preferences like height, religion, schooling and whether you want children — before rounding out the profile with up to nine photos and scintillating “ice-breaker” questions like “What does the perfect day look like?”
Nathan Sharp, the company’s product manager, explained that Facebook dating aims to help users find long-term, serious partners rather than casual hookups, reported Business Insider. Right.
After launching in Colombia for testing purposes two months ago, Thailand and Canada are the second and third countries to get the Facebook dating rollout.
Though Facebook is joining the dating game years after key players like Tinder, Bumble and OK Cupid, they’re starting with some huge advantages, namely the fact that most people are already on Facebook and the dating feature doesn’t require users to download an extra application. At least not yet.
Not everyone is happy about this, however, particularly in an age where Facebook has admitted to allowing the data of millions of users to be abused in the Cambridge Analytica scandal.
Speaking to Canada’s CBC, attorney Tamir Israel raised the obvious question: Can Facebook actually keep user data separate between the traditional accounts and the new dating function?
“[W]e have seen over and over again that those types of divides are difficult to maintain,” Israel told the Canadian broadcaster. “”It looks like, in spite of the challenges, they are making an effort to silo this a bit from the rest of their ecosystem, but the problem is they have a bit of a bad track record of eroding that over time.”
But hey, finding love always involves a bit of risk, no?