6 Things You Need To Know About Facebook’s New Dating Service

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6 Things to Know About Facebook Dating

More than a year after the company first announced the feature, Facebook Dating has finally made its way to the US. Anyone with a Facebook account who is over 18 can opt into the dating service from the Facebook mobile app.

"We've been really slow, actually, with this rollout," Charmaine Hung, a product manager at Facebook Dating, told CNN Business. "We really wanted to make sure we got it right because dating is so personal."

Was Facebook Dating worth the wait? Here’s what you need to know before giving it a try.

Your Profile Is Separate But Simple To Set Up

Facebook Dating profiles are different from the profiles used for social networking. You will need to create a new profile in order to use the dating service, but Facebook has made it easy to get started. Facebook Dating is accessed from the mobile app’s main menu. As a new user, you can choose to automatically fill in your Dating profile with information from your main Facebook profile and edit or remove as necessary. It’s up to you to decide how much of your personal information is shared between the services. Dating is not integrated into Facebook’s desktop experience.

Matching Is Not A Swipe System

Swiping has become a staple of digital dating, but Facebook chose a different direction for Dating. You must tap into a profile before you can pass on or express interest in a potential match. “Facebook Dating isn’t about swiping or having to wait for someone to like you to get a first chance at reaching out,” Facebook said. “If you are interested in someone, you can comment directly on their profile or tap on the Like button to let them know.”

You Can Link Your Instagram

As of the US launch, you can now include photos from your Instagram feed in your Facebook Dating profile. You can also add Instagram followers to Dating's Secret Crush feature, which allows you to test the waters with people you already know to see if your romantic feelings are mutual. By the end of the year, Facebook says, users will be able to share Instagram Stories with Facebook Dating.

Messaging Is Different From Other Dating Services

Facebook Dating allows anyone to send you a message, even if you haven’t indicated interest. This is a notable difference from apps like Tinder and Bumble, which require a mutual match before messaging can begin. The messaging feature within Dating is text only - photos, videos and links cannot be shared. "We know that inappropriate photos and videos can really ruin peoples' dating experiences,” Hung told CNN Business. “So we want to make sure that you can build trust with someone before, of course, moving into your chat service of choice afterward."

You Can Share Your Location With A Friend For Safety

Nervous about meeting a new match in an unfamiliar place? Facebook Dating lets you share your date plans, including time and location, with a select group of Facebook friends. You can also share your live location so you whereabouts are known at all times. The feature is optional, and should you choose to use it, you are completely in control of who receives your location information.

It’s Free (But There Might Be A Catch)

Facebook Dating is free to use, there are no premium features locked behind a paywall and users are not subjected to ads. But as is often the case in the digital age, the trade-off for a free product is your information. Facebook says any data generated while using Dating will be kept separate from its main service and will not be used to target ads. The dating service will, however, still be a way for Facebook to collect even more intimate information about its users and their behaviors, and there’s no way of knowing what applications that data will ultimately have.

Facebook Dating is currently available in 19 other countries, in addition to the US: Argentina, Bolivia, Brazil, Canada, Chile, Colombia, Ecuador, Guyana, Laos, Malaysia, Mexico, Paraguay, Peru, the Philippines, Singapore, Suriname, Thailand, Uruguay and Vietnam. It will debut in Europe by early 2020.

For more on this new dating feature you can read our updated Facebook Dating review.