Facebook has always been about relationships. Now it’s in the dating game.
The second-least-sexy social media app (after LinkedIn) has officially entered the business of love. Facebook Dating, which has existed in other countries since last year, launched in the US today in the hope that Facebook can compete with existing dating apps like Tinder, Bumble, and OKCupid.
How will Facebook Dating work? To use Facebook’s own words, it’s complicated. Though many have noted the aesthetic similarities between its interface — which is available to users 18 and older within the regular Facebook mobile app (in a separate tab) — and that of the dating app Hinge, the fact that Facebook is already a part of people’s lives whether they’re looking to date or not makes things a bit unusual.
Facebook is attempting to clear most of those hurdles by making Dating as separate as possible from its regular app. First and foremost, users must opt in to the service, then create an entirely distinct profile. Notably, Facebook Dating does not show users their Facebook friends, and also gives people the ability to remove friends of friends from their potential matches. You can also block specific people on Facebook from seeing your dating profile. Users can, however, message one another without matching first.
Then there’s a whole thing called “Secret Crush” where you can add up to nine (!) Facebook friends or Instagram followers to a list, and if they secretly crush you back, you’ll both get notified. (The tool only works if both people have set up Facebook Dating profiles; Timothée Chalamet will not get notified if you add his Instagram account to your Secret Crush list, and even then you can only do that if Timothée Chalamet is following you.)
Today also marks the beginning of Facebook Dating’s integration with Instagram, which is owned by Facebook. Daters can now add their Instagram posts directly to their profiles (which people have already been able to do on Tinder and Hinge) and add Instagram followers to their Secret Crush list. Facebook says it will include the ability to add Instagram Stories to profiles by the end of the year.