Facebook Has Started Internal Testing Of Its New Dating Feature

  • Saturday, August 11 2018 @ 07:01 am
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Internal testing of Facebook Dating
Image: JaneManchunWong

Facebook dominated dating industry news in May when it announced plans to launch a dating product at the company’s annual F8 developer conference. Reactions ran the gamut from blase to snarky to supportive, but specifics about how the feature would look and function were scarce.

Now, after months of speculation, independent app researcher and reverse engineer Jane Manchun Wong reveals that the social media giant has taken major steps towards releasing the feature. Facebook is now testing its dating product internally with employees, and screenshots suggest what the feature may have in store for the public when it officially debuts.

Wong was able to access the signup screen for the new feature. The screen greets users with the message “For Facebook Employees” and goes on to explain that the product is currently for US Facebook employees who have opted-in to “dogfooding” - a tech industry term that refers to testing products internally on a company’s own employees - the upcoming dating feature.

It adds an important disclaimer: "This is not meant for dating your coworkers."

Facebook then requests that employees use only “dummy” data for their profiles, and assures testers that their data will be deleted before the official launch. The page ends with a warning alluding to the toxic environment that many encounter on dating platforms : "As a reminder, Facebook policies such as harassment and code of conduct apply to all dogfooding activities."

Wong’s screenshots also reveal the privacy settings and gender identifications users may choose from. Immediate Facebook friends won’t be able to see your dating profile, and it’s up to you to decide whether or not to allow users with mutual friends to see it. As for gender, you may select from an inclusive list of options such as Woman, Trans Woman, Man, Trans Man, and Non-binary.

Facebook is also testing a feature called “Conversation Starters” to help singles break the ice, and a purple-and-pink color scheme that departs from the platform’s famous white and blue palette.

Wong successfully entered her own information into the beta feature but was unable to actually create the profile, as the product has not yet been made available to the public. It may in fact never go public, as several media outlets have noted, if the internal tests fall short of expectations.

Facebook has confirmed that it is testing the dating product but declined to say whether the screenshots are the real deal.

“We are testing Facebook Dating internally (as we regularly do with new features), but we don’t have anything more to share right now,” Jillian Stefanki, a Facebook spokeswoman, said in an email to Fortune. Facebook has yet to announce a release date for the dating product.

For for on this upcoming dating feature you can read our Facebook dating review.