What to Expect from Facebook’s New Ad-Free Dating Service

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Image: Recode

Last month, Facebook announced that it will be launching a new online dating feature, and since then details have come out about what it will look like. According to website Recode, an interesting benefit to users is that the new dating service won’t include ads.

Specifically, Facebook stated that it won’t be running ads alongside dating profiles, and they won’t use personal data associated with users’ dating profiles to send targeted ads to these users.

According to Recode, Facebook will provide users with a separate dating profile page, distinct from a personal Facebook page. It will match users according to location and interests, typical for most dating apps. (With Facebook, the more groups you “unlock,” the more matches you can potentially meet.) Facebook will also provide a separate messaging service specifically for dating, so you won’t have to message matches over your personal account. The dating messaging feature will be text only – no videos or images can be shared. (This seems intended to make it a more female-friendly experience, since women often get unsolicited photos and videos over online dating apps.)

There was a lot of buzz and speculation surrounding Facebook’s surprise announcement at its developer conference, placing competitors like Tinder and Match on alert for potentially big industry changes.

Competitors in the online dating space were quick to point out the issues with a Facebook dating feature, including the looming cloud over the social media giant - privacy concerns - particularly with CEO Mark Zuckerberg’s Congressional hearing. Last month, he testified that millions of users’ personal data were stolen by partner Cambridge Analytica, a data firm at the center of controversy during the 2016 Presidential election. Facebook failed to protect its user data and adequately answer what it could do to prevent a similar breach moving forward, causing many to question the reach and power of the social media giant.

While Facebook is still regaining the trust of its users, many people have long speculated that it would enter into the online dating industry. Chief Product Officer Chris Cox said at the development conference: “One of the great ironies for me is that when a lot of us joined the very first version of the service in 2004, back when it was just a handful of college students, we were convinced that dating would be the next feature Facebook was going to add. We were right, just 14 years too early.”

Zuckerberg stated that Facebook’s dating feature would be for building relationships, and “not just hookups.”

Facebook will be testing these features in the next few months. When this happens and we can test the new feature we will update our review of Facebook Dating.