Facebook has announced that Facebook Dating is expanding to a further 14 countries. The news came at the annual F8 conference in California, almost a year to the day since the service was first revealed to the world at the same event.
The USA is still not one of the 19 countries to have access to the online dating platform, but the social media giant has assured its home users that they will be able to get their hands on it by the end of 2019.
As of 1st May, singles in the Philippines, Singapore, Brazil, Malaysia, Vietnam, Bolivia, Peru, Chile, Ecuador, Uruguay, Paraguay, Guyana, Laos and Suriname can use Facebook Dating.
Colombia was revealed as the first testing market in September, followed by movement into Canada and Thailand, before finally entering Mexico and Argentina.
This latest round of releases still has no impact in European markets, despite recent leaked screenshots appearing to show the user interface translated into French and Dutch. Suriname is the only South American country to have Dutch as its official language.
When Facebook Dating was in the early stages of production it was designed to be for growing romantic and social circles, rather than dating immediate friends.
However, developers have now presented a feature called ‘Secret Crush’ which opens up the possibility of dating users already connected on the social network.
Singles can add up to nine friends that they like to ‘Secret Crush’. If one of those people creates a Dating profile, they will be told that they are already on somebody’s list. If they also add that user to ‘Secret Crush’, they will both receive a notification prompting them to start chatting.
Facebook Dating Product Manager Charmaine Hung explained: “I have 2,000 Facebook friends. I’m not best friends with all 2,000 people, and there’s a good chance that one of that could be a really good match with me. I trust them, I appreciate them and I know we’re compatible.
“The only thing missing is knowing if we’re both interested in being more than just friends without the fear of rejection if you were to do this in real life.”
There were worries that singles might just continuously swap potential crushes in and out until they find a match, but Facebook has already thought ahead and only allows one change to the nine per day.
CEO Mark Zuckerberg has promised that safety and privacy is of the utmost priority, and all Dating activity will be kept separate from the main profile. This means if someone adds a friend to ‘Secret Crush’, they will not see that person’s updates displayed more prominently on their News Feed.
Developers are currently working on a live-sharing safety option so friends and family can see a user’s current location while they’re out on a date.
There are still no plans to monetise Facebook Dating, with a spokesperson saying they are just committed to helping the 200 million people listed as single on the platform find love.
At the time of writing Match Group stock has dropped by just 1.7% since the announcement. This is a tiny dip compared to the violent decline of more than 25% it suffered immediately after the 2018 F8 conference.
Match Group CEO Mandy Ginsberg has previously been very positive when speaking to the media about the prospect of going head-to-head with Facebook. She told CNBC in February that subsidiary Tinder had seen no negative impact in any of the initial testing markets.
Other important announcements from Facebook F8 included a complete redesign of the main social network. The colour blue will be almost completely eradicated and there’s a heavy emphasis on getting users to join groups, attend real-life events and interact with people who share common interests.
Also, Instagram has begun testing a new layout in Canada whereby the number of likes on pictures and videos will not be publicly visible. This is an attempt to make the app more about creating exciting content, rather than just amassing likes.
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