It’s Complicated: Dating on Facebook.

A young Black woman with braided hair smiles at her phone. The blog's title is written over the image.

You might have been invited to try Facebook Dating – but just how does the social media giant’s venture into the world of love work? And, more importantly – is it worth it? Ella Seasmith, Senior Community Manager investigates…

Picture the scene: you’re staring at the same four walls, day in, day out. No, you’re not in prison. You’re in lockdown. Again. 

Let’s be real, 2020-2021 has not bode well for IRL relationships. But what has blossomed amongst the midst of face masks, sanitisers and deliveroo-ing your Aldi order is… Facebook Dating. You heard that right. Dating. But on Facebook. 

Originally launched in late 2019, the social networking site’s matchmaking service promises to make it “easier to find love through what you like” – matching you with people you may be compatible with based on your interests, events you’ve been to and groups you’re in. Until recently I’d never even heard of Facebook Dating, but over the last month or so, Facebook has been insistent on advertising it to me every time I open the app, so I thought it was about time I checked it out. *braces for impact*

So first, let’s set up that profile. The first thing it lets you know, twice, in fact, is that it won’t suggest current Facebook friends or let them know you’ve joined Dating. *wipes sweat off brow and immediately unfriends the-one-that-got-away* (Kidding. Promise.)

a screenshot showing the rules for using Facebook Dating

The next step gives you a bunch of ‘rules’ which, to summarise, are essentially:
– Don’t be a catfish
– You’re speaking to human beings, so be nice
– Block and report bad people 

Then, it asks for your gender. I’ll be honest, I was slightly concerned that it was going to be binary and not inclusive for all genders… However, I was pleasantly surprised. You’re presented with three options; ‘woman’, ‘man’, and ‘let me be more specific’. Clicking on the latter takes you to a page on which you can select from a variety of gender identities, pictured below.

The rest of the set-up process follows the usual sort of stuff; selecting who you want to date (from the options women, men or… everyone), location, selfie, bio and linking your Instagram. Then it starts to get a bit more specific – asking you a bunch of things such as your height, whether you have children, speak any languages, smoke, drink etc. 

Facebook Dating's privacy policy.
Before you can officially get your date on, you also have to agree to Facebook Dating’s Privacy Policy – which reassures you that while they will use protected data about you (such as your gender or religious views) to provide a “safe and personalised experience,” they won’t use it to tailor the ads that you see on Facebook Products.

And finally – you’re in

In terms of functionality, it behaves just like most popular dating apps do. To initiate that digital meet-cute, you can swipe right/left, respond to specific things within someone’s profile and send ‘sparks’ (which looks like a knock off ‘superlike’). Once you’ve matched with someone, you can chat via text, send gifs and even video call (oo-er). Like other dating apps, you can’t send photos (meaning no unsolicited images), and to unmatch, you simply delete the conversation. Or you can always straight up block them. Ouch

A screenshot of how a dating profile looks on Facebook Dating.All in all, Facebook Dating certainly has been an… interesting experience. Would I recommend Facebook Dating to a hopeful single looking for love? Probably not. With Tinder, Bumble and Hinge continuing to dominate the digital dating landscape, I wouldn’t expect Facebook’s Dating pool to be wildly different to every other platform, and I can’t see its popularity outdoing them, either. It feels very much like Facebook trying to clone another platform and make it their own.. Which our very own Carys wrote a blog about here

Instead of joining Facebook Dating, I’d suggest this:

Go and message the person you’ve matched with on every single platform and never actually spoken to. Who knows? They might be ‘the one’. 

Or, better yet, spend your time binge-watching my TikToks. Yep, this is a shameless plug. What are you going to do about it? 

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