Facebook dating service: everything you need to know

Facebook has unveiled plans for a dating service which will focus on “meaningful, long-term relationships and “not just hookups”.

The opt-in service will be open to Facebook users but will be separate to the social media site.

CEO Mark Zuckerberg revealed the firm’s plans at its annual F8 developer conference in San Jose at the start of May.

How will it work?

If you join the new dating tool your profile will only be visible to other members – meaning your activity won’t be visible anywhere on your Facebook profile or on news feeds.

The match-making app will let you chat to other people via a private messaging system that’s not connected to Facebook Messenger or Whatsapp.

Like the hugely successful dating app Tinder, profiles will display first names only.

Matches will be suggested based on  your preferences and things in common like mutual friends. But it won’t match you up with people you’re already friends with on Facebook.

One feature of the app is that you’ll be able to “unlock” groups and events.

You’ll then be able to see everyone else who has done the same. The idea is this will help you connect with people you have things in common with.

Facebook reckons in the “real world” couples often meet through events they share a mutual interest in.

This all ties into the product’s selling point as a place to “start meaningful relationships”.

Zuckerberg told the F8 conference: “There are 200 million people on Facebook who list themselves as single.”

“And if we are committed to building meaningful relationships, then this is perhaps the most meaningful of all.”

Awkward timing?

The firm’s CEO acknowledged it had been an “intense” year for the company but that the dating tool had been designed “with privacy and safety in mind from the beginning”.

Facebook has been heavily criticised following recent revelations that the personal data from about 50 million American users had been harvested and shared with political consultancy Cambridge Analytica.

So it’s no surprise some people have found the new match-making app’s timing awkward.

Match Group, which owns Tinder, said in a statement: “We’re surprised at the timing given the amount of personal and sensitive data that comes with this territory.”

However Facebook chief product officer Chris Cox said during the conference that a dating tool had always seemed the next logical step.

When will we see it?

Facebook is yet to reveal a launch date.

Zuckerberg only promised the new dating app would be rolled out “soon”.