Sparked, a video speed-dating app developed by Facebook is now in beta testing.
Sparked, a video speed-dating app developed by Facebook is now in beta testing. The NPE Team, Facebook’s in-house department that focuses on experimental apps, developed the app, which requires a Facebook profile to create an account.
You may learn more about Sparked on its website, which promotes the program as “video dating with kind people.” It also states that there will be no public profiles, swiping, or direct messages and that it will be free to use. The software would appear to rotate people through four-minute speed video dates. It’s unclear how many videos date a person will get each event, but the app claims daters will be scheduled for a 10-minute second date if “you both had a great time.” Sparked proposes they exchange contact information and stay in touch via Instagram, iMessage, or email after that.
The Verge attempted to create a profile and was placed on a waiting list, but the app’s user sign-up flow hints that compassion is a major motif. Users must type out what makes them a nice dater when they sign up. Before participants may go on fast dates, the app states these responses will be “reviewed by a human at Sparked.” Users must also select if they want to date males, women, or nonbinary persons before being asked if they are interested in dating trans persons. According to a landing page for a Chicago dating event, 47 people have signed up to attend. What is unknown is how daters will connect to the event, such as whether they will be required to log into Sparked over the web or if they will be forced to download an app. There is currently no app available in the App Store or Google Play. (We only used a browser to complete the sign-up procedure.)
Below are some screenshots of the sign-up procedure. A Facebook spokeswoman acknowledged the app’s existence in an emailed statement to The Verge, calling it an “early experiment.” They also stated that it is now in a “limited beta test.”
Sparked would be Facebook’s second dating service. Facebook Dating, which is accessible through the main Facebook app, debuted in the United States in 2019 and has since expanded to several countries, including the United Kingdom. It works in the same way as most dating apps in that users can read a public profile of a possible match and then send alike in the hopes of receiving one in return and starting a discussion. The NPE team has released several apps, none of which have been especially successful, so it’s unclear how serious Facebook is about Sparked.
Video dating is a relatively new concept, owing to the pandemic and people remaining at home and limiting their in-person contact. Hinge and Tinder have both added the option to conduct video chats with matches after the League initially offered a video speed-dating function in 2019. (Bumble, too, debuted its video chat feature in 2019.) Sparked appears to be following The League’s lead, implying that the company is testing new approaches to persuade people to date when they tire of swiping and searching through hundreds of profiles.