"Facebook Official" is officially taking on a whole new meaning. Starting today, Facebook Dating, Facebook’s on-app dating platform, is launching in the U.S. — effectively rendering the Facebook poke, heretofore ultimate on-site flirting tool, obsolete.
In addition to all the normal dating app fare, Facebook Dating has some pretty unique features that only a dating app hosted by a social network could. It also, importantly, requires setting up a dating profile separate from your Facebook profile (and you must be 18 or older to do so), which you can create either with your already-existing Facebook photos and info or from scratch. And as is the case with other dating apps, you can connect your Instagram profile to your account for prospective matches to see.
Like on Hinge, you can see who likes you before matching with them — and your liker can send you a message (limited to only one), at which point you can decide if you’d like to match with or pass on that person. Of note, though, is the fact that you won’t encounter your Facebook friends on Facebook Dating. (You know, so you don’t have to see your uncle or your ex’s mom on there.) You can also opt out of encountering even your friends of friends on Facebook Dating, if you'd rather date outside your circle entirely.
And then, there's the platform’s Secret Crush feature. Facebook conducted a "Dating in America" survey with Edelman in July, and one of its main findings was that 53% of the 3,000 people polled admitted to currently having a crush on someone they already know — despite being too nervous to ask them out. Secret Crush makes it a lot easier to act on these feelings — without blowing up your spot. The feature lets you anonymously add up to nine of your Facebook friends, and better yet, Instagram followers, that you have a crush on. (Perfect for when you’re too nervous to slide into DMs.) If your crush has opted into Facebook Dating, they’ll get a notification that someone has a crush on them. If they add you back, it’s a match. And if they don’t, they’ll remain none the wiser that you added them in the first place. Also unique to Facebook Dating: You can opt to connect with people in your Facebook groups (i.e. Corgi lovers) or those you’ve attended events with (especially handy if you want to reconnect with that anonymous cutie you met in the crowd at Outside Lands).
Facebook Dating is already available in Argentina, Bolivia, Brazil, Canada, Chile, Columbia, Ecuador, Guyana, Laos, Malaysia, Mexico, Paraguay, Peru, the Philippines, Singapore, Suriname, Thailand, Uruguay, and Vietnam, and will be coming to Europe by early next year.