Facebook has started its first large scale test of Facebook Dating, the new feature announced several months ago during the social network’s F8 developer conference. Facebook has opened the Dating feature up to users in Colombia for now.
Facebook Dating is a solely mobile feature at the moment, and is not available on the desktop. It lives under the main menu, and is an opt-in service. Facebook limits the amount of matches to 100 people per day, and can only link you to people with no mutual connections.
Profiles are matched not by using a swipe like Tinder, but by answering a question, which is the sent to the prospective match for an answer. The app requires users to confirm their location using the phone’s GPS, and this cannot be virtually altered.
Messages are exchanged through a dedicated messenger, rather than linking the Dating feature to Messenger, where privacy could be compromised. Dating does link with Facebook Groups and Facebook Events, including events that have already happened.
Facebook’s product manager Nathan Sharp told The Verge in an interview:
“Dating has been a behavior that we’ve seen on Facebook for a really long time. We want to make it easier and more comfortable for people to engage in. We just thought that now was the right time. Our goal is to make Facebook the single best place to start a relationship.”
If the test is a success, Facebook may launch Dating in other regions, or even potentially create a standalone Facebook Dating app.