Facebook wants to set you up on a date

Facebook dating

With the proliferation of dating apps and the amount of information it has on users, it's no surprise that Facebook, after 14 years in existence, is jumping into the pool of helping people connect... romantically. 

The company announced at its F8 2018 developer conference today that it's launching a dating profile feature, "for real long-term relationships, not hookups," Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg said on the keynote stage. 

People will be able to make a dating profile that's separate from their Facebook profile (a little heart icon will take you to your dating profile). 

Facebook assures the dating profile won't be visible to your Facebook friends, nor will it show up in places like the News Feed. 

Dating profiles will only feature a first name, and will highlights users' interests and have some photos. Only people who use the dating service will be able to see other parties' profiles. 

Dating privacy

Users will also be able to browse events near them and groups involving things they're interested in, reflecting how many people meet to date anyway.

Potential romantic matches will also be suggested based on your shared interests, things in common and mutual friends, Facebook says. 

After finding someone you're interested in, you'll then choose a photo of theirs that acts a "conversation starter." You and the person you've contacted can have a private chat through an inbox that's connected to your profiles and separate from Messenger and WhatsApp.

What's more, the conversation will be text-only, for safety reasons. 

Facebook isn't ready to launch dating profiles yet, and says it will share more details as testing begins in a few months. So, dating features won't be on Facebook soon, though you can expect their arrival before too long.

Playing matchmaker shines a further light on the amount of personal user data Facebook has access to. In order to suggest potential matches to you, Facebook will need to know information including where you live, and what and who you're interested in. 

Given the recent Cambridge Analytica data scandal, handing yet more information to Facebook may give some users serious pause. 

It's imperative Facebook keeps the dating data of its users safe, and though it's taken steps to address some of its privacy loop holes in the wake of scandal, Facebook may still have a lot to prove before users are willing to put their romantic fate in its hands. 

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Michelle Fitzsimmons

Michelle was previously a news editor at TechRadar, leading consumer tech news and reviews. Michelle is now a Content Strategist at Facebook.  A versatile, highly effective content writer and skilled editor with a keen eye for detail, Michelle is a collaborative problem solver and covered everything from smartwatches and microprocessors to VR and self-driving cars.