Facebook is going to launch its own online dating service

Tyrone Stewart

Facebook F8 datingAt Facebook’s annual F8 developer conference, the tech giant announced a host of updates, changes, and additions it would making across its social network and its Instagram, WhatsApp, and Oculus subsidiaries. Perhaps the biggest of these announcements was that Facebook is going to begin testing a dating feature within its app.

The feature, which would put Facebook in competition with the likes of Tinder and Bumble, has been considered for many years but this is the first time any concrete plans have been made.

It would enable single people – or those that fancy playing away from home, or those in open relationships – to create a dating profile away from their Facebook profile. According to Facebook, matches will be based on dating preferences, things in common, and mutual friends. In addition, people will be able to communicate with people who have similar interests through the groups they’re part of or the events they’re attending.

Users of the feature will only be able to send text to others using the feature and not pictures – in order to ensure that no unsavoury photos of certain body parts are being sent to people without consent. Furthermore, none of the activity on the feature will be visible to friends or others in the main areas of the Facebook app.

Facebook will begin testing the feature at some point later this year.

This year, it’s expected that 25.7m single people – or 27.3 per cent of single smartphone users – will use a smartphone dating app in the US, according to eMarketer. This is predicted to grow to 36.1m users, or 35 per cent, by 2022.

Amid the announcement of Facebook’s plans to play cupid, shares in Match Group, which owns Tinder, fell by as much as 24 per cent – its biggest one-day fall ever.

Elsewhere, Facebook also revealed its plans to create a ‘Clear History’ feature that enables users to see all the websites and apps that send Facebook information when used and delete the entirety of this information.

On top of that, and several other Facebook-related revelations, there was also the announcements that Instagram would be getting AR camera effects, WhatsApp would soon be receiving group calling and stickers, brands will be able to integrate AR camera effects into their Messenger experience in the future, and Oculus’ first standalone headset is now available for $199.