On Thursday, the world’s largest social network announced the launch of Facebook Dating in the U.S., adding a fertile market to an already available service in 19 other countries.
More than 200 million people list themselves as single on Facebook. While not every one of them is pursuing a romantic relationship or even a short-term fling, the sheer numbers would indicate the potential for sparking romance.
On the other hand, many unattached people are likely to be reluctant, mainly because Facebook’s reputation for privacy and security isn’t exactly stellar.
There’s also the issue of how many young singles will turn to a service that others will see as their parents’ scene rather than their own.
Here’s how Facebook Dating works and how the social media platform is dealing with these problems.
To begin, you must be 18 years old and have opted in to Facebook Dating. Although you’ll need to be a Facebook user and have the most current version of the Facebook app to use Facebook Dating, your dating profile will be kept separate from your main Facebook profile. Unless you want to post it, all of your dating activity will be kept apart from your Facebook profile or news feed.
Within Facebook Dating, you must use your real first name, as it appears on Facebook, as well as your actual location and age. It’s entirely up to you whether or not you want to share other details, such as your gender identity, photos, and so on.
Based on your interests, desires, and other Facebook activities, Facebook will recommend potential matches from other people who have opted in. Unlike Tinder, you don’t swipe left or right to show interest in or dismiss an individual. Instead, you can use Facebook Dating’s Like button or directly comment on the person’s profile.
Read: Victims Of Romance Scams Say Facebook Dating Is a Train Wreck Waiting To Happen.
You might also use a photo to start a conversation, with Facebook recommending images and details from your Facebook profile that you may like to use. Still, you always have the option to decline these suggestions.
A consumer may only send one message before, and only if the object of their affection responds, to protect someone who has no interest in the person wooing them.
If the person responds but later realizes you’re a creep, he or she can block you and report you to Facebook for inappropriate conduct.
Hooking up with your secret crush
If you agree, Facebook will match you with friends of friends; otherwise, you will be matched with people you don’t know. However, it will not fit you with your real Facebook friends unless you and the other person select each other as part of a Secret Crush feature introduced last spring in some other Facebook Dating markets.
You can pick up to nine of your Facebook friends or Instagram followers with whom you’d like to be more than friends as part of the feature. If that person has chosen to engage in Facebook Dating, they will be informed that someone has a crush on them.
It’s a match if the crush adds you to their Secret Crush list. If your crush isn’t on Facebook Dating, doesn’t make a Secret Crush list, or doesn’t add you to it, no one will realize you’ve entered their name, removing the fear of rejection (at least in theory).
Facebook would also allow you to connect your Instagram posts to your Facebook Dating profile, which may help you attract a younger audience.
Read Also: Facebook has always been about relationships. Now it’s in the dating game.
Facebook is also planning to make it possible to post your Facebook or Instagram Stories shortly to “help you prove, rather than say, who you are,” as the company puts it.
Another choice allows you to see other Facebook Dating users who match your interests within the groups you belong to and the events you’ve attended or will attend. These people will be able to see you if you want to see them.
You can share details of your upcoming date and live location with someone you trust through Facebook Messenger as an added layer of security.
Facebook’s vice president and chief privacy officer, Erin Egan, says, “We’re committed to protecting people’s privacy inside Facebook Dating so that we can establish a place where people feel safe searching for a date and creating meaningful romantic relationships.”