Facebook is finally coming through on some of the promises it made at its F8 Developer Conference back in May.
Earlier this week, we reported that its desktop refresh is now going live, and now, Facebook Dating is finally being launched in the US market, in addition to the current 19 regions where the option is already available.
First announced in May 2018, Facebook Dating is, as it sounds, a match-making tool within Facebook, enabling users to create separate Dating profiles in order to keep their regular profile information separate. Facebook can then use its vast data banks to help match you up with relevant Dating users - and given what Facebook knows about people and their habits, it actually makes a lot of sense, and could, theoretically, provide better matches than other dating apps.
The US launch is a major step for Facebook Dating, and Facebook's also taken the opportunity to add some new tools into the app.
First off, Facebook has announced that users will soon be able to connect their Facebook and Instagram Stories to their Facebook Dating profile, in order to provide more context to interested people.
Facebook's also rolling out its 'Secret Crush' tool, which it showcased at F8 - 'Secret Crush' enables users to match up with their friends and extended networks, which, by default, is not possible within Facebook Dating.
"If you choose to use Secret Crush, you can select up to nine of your Facebook friends or Instagram followers who you’re interested in (to add Instagram followers you must connect your Instagram account to Facebook Dating.) If your crush has opted into Facebook Dating, they’ll get a notification saying that someone has a crush on them. If your crush adds you to their Secret Crush list too, it’s a match! If your crush isn’t on Dating, doesn’t create a Secret Crush list, or doesn’t put you on their list - then no one will know that you’ve entered their name."
Facebook will also now allow Dating users to add Instagram posts to their Dating profile, another way to provide additional context on your life and interests.
The options add more ways to make best use of Facebook Dating, which, as noted, could actually be a better way to find a relevant match. Facebook, with 2.4 billion users, has access to the largest database of personal insights ever created, and as research has shown, Facebook data can reveal almost everything about your personality and psychological leanings.
Could that same insight map ideal couples based on their personal information, using married Facebook members as a guide? You'd have to assume that Facebook would be better placed than anyone to connect users in this way, though limitations on data usage between Facebook Dating and its main app will likely lessen its potential, at least to some degree.
Still, clearly the market sees significant potential in the option - shares in Match Group, which owns Match.com, Tinder and OKCupid, fell sharply upon the announcement.
Maybe, Facebook will become even more important to more people's lives.
You can read more about Facebook Dating here, while Facebook has also published an overview of the privacy elements of the app.