Facebook moves beyond adding friends to building relationships.
Facebook Dating expands to European users, who can now build relationships based on common social media interests, such as groups they are a part of, pages they’ve liked, and events they attended. The feature is available in 32 European countries and 20 additional countries, including the U.S., Mexico, and Thailand. Since the platform officially launched a year ago, Facebook created more than 1.5 billion matches, a number it could now double by expanding into Europe. Through Facebook Dating, users can create profiles separate from their standard Facebook page, which could help people feel more comfortable testing out the feature knowing it’s not tied back to their original profile. Facebook utilizes its vast data banks to suggest potential matches to users, who can then set up “virtual dates”, which include video calls and chats. Facebook Dating also includes a “Secret Crush” feature where users can “like” people they already know or are friends with on Facebook or Instagram. Additionally, similar to other social media sites, Facebook Dating includes a “Stories” feature where users can also post images or videos to share with potential matches.
What a user likes on Facebook can accurately reveal their hobbies, traits, and habits, so binding that data into a dating profile could potentially increase their chances of finding a relationship. As more people remain isolated at home but still seek connections during the Coronavirus pandemic, expanding Facebook Dating to a new continent could boost audience engagement and time spent on Facebook platforms. Broadening the reach of Facebook Dating could also strengthen the tech titan’s functionalities and build up user reliance around the world, according to a Gartner report on the topic.
Though creating dating profiles based off of user data could improve matching accuracy, it could also be seen as too invasive for some users, particularly given Facebook’s history of alleged data misusage. Additionally, expanding the platform amid a surge of antitrust probes in the U.S. and abroad could prove an aversion to some potential users. However, by launching in regions that do not have as many dating apps—and therefore competition—as in the U.S., Facebook’s new platform could become a leader in digital dating.
Virtual dating has become the go-to method for building relationships during Coronavirus lockdowns, particularly as people spend more time inside and online. By bringing Facebook Dating to an international market, Facebook could grow user reliance and add yet another page to its never-ending playbook of social offerings.