Facebook Dating feature rolls out in 14 new countries, including the Philippines, today

The new Facebook Dating feature. Photo: Kaka Corral/Coconuts Manila
The new Facebook Dating feature. Photo: Kaka Corral/Coconuts Manila

To date or not to date? That is the question.

Dating is hard wherever you are in the world, but it’s especially difficult in Manila where traffic has become a primary consideration in deciding whether you want to meet for a drink with a person or not.

Many have turned to online dating apps like Tinder and Bumble to try and meet their future S.O., and starting this month, internet-savvy Filipinos can do the same on Facebook — the biggest social media platform in the country.

The new feature is called Facebook Dating and it will now be available in 19 countries, including the Philippines. Within the Coconuts network, this list also includes Singapore, Malaysia and Thailand, and within Asia, also Vietnam and Laos.

Technical Program Manager for Facebook Dating Charmaine Hung said in a press briefing on Friday that there are more than 200 million people that have listed themselves as “single” in their relationship status on Facebook. She said Facebook saw this as an opportunity to connect people and build new relationships.

Hung said that the feature aims to stray away from the hookup culture and instead give its users “meaningful romantic relationships.”

Yeah, good luck with that.

Anyway — here’s how it works:

Facebook users who are 18 years old and above can create a dating profile that will be separate from their Facebook account. Family, friends, and people that have been blocked from a person’s Facebook profile won’t be able to see a user’s Dating profile. This Dating profile is an opt-in feature that users have to activate separately.

Facebook Dating users will only be recommended to profiles they’re not friends with, or to friends of friends. Those who don’t want to be recommended to friends of friends can also remove that option in their settings.

Suggested matches will be based on shared interests, dating preferences, and groups or events users are part of. Preference settings include gender, height, religion, schooling and whether or not you want children.

Users can either choose to “pass” on a recommendation or say that they’re “interested” by tapping a button on the bottom of the screen. Those interested can only send one message to another user. If that person replies, then it’s considered a match and the two can continue messaging each other. Note, though that only text-based messages are allowed — no creepy photos or videos, no links, no online payments.

Users can’t send a second message until they receive a response. The reasoning behind this, we’re told, is to prevent sexual harassment. Harassment can be reported to Facebook, or a user can also choose to block another.

Hung stressed that safety is one of the main concerns of the new Facebook feature. She said that they are working on live location sharing which will allow users to share date plans with friends and family.

There is also a Second Look function, which allows users to reconsider someone they were initially not interested in, and a feature called Secret Crush, which lets users match with their Facebook friends.

With the Secret Crush feature, users can add up to nine Facebook friends they have a crush on. There is no reveal for who adds whom as a “crush” — users will only be notified that they have been added as a Secret Crush if they have also added that person’s name within his or her own Secret Crush list, too. 

Secret Crush feature. Photo: Kaka Corral/Coconuts Manila
Secret Crush feature. Photo: Kaka Corral/Coconuts Manila
Secret Crush feature. Photo: Kaka Corral/Coconuts Manila
Secret Crush feature. Photo: Kaka Corral/Coconuts Manila

Facebook Dating was first announced in May 2018. It has been launched in Colombia, Thailand, Canada, Mexico, and Argentina.

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