Facebook Dating Has a Secret Weapon – Instagram: Facebook revealed in spring 2018 that it was releasing its version of Tinder, but that it was intended for people interested in meaningful relationships. Facebook’s dating service is now available in the United States after being rolled out in 19 countries, including Colombia, Thailand, and Canada.
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Instead of the rapid-fire swiping seen in many dating apps such as Tinder and Bumble, users of Facebook Dating have to tap each profile before they can move on or show interest in anyone by sending them a message (there is no mutual interest required for anyone to start a conversation, which may cause problems for women who are already facing abuse and unsolicited messages on dating apps). Along with your specified preferences and interests you have indicated on Facebook, the company’s algorithm selects matches for you based on location, which you check using location services on your phone. The app is entirely opt-in for those 18 and older, and you will never be paired with your mates.
The company’s aim? “Nathan Sharp, Facebook Dating’s product manager, says, “We want to make sure people know that there are people behind profiles, to make it about conversation and not swiping. “In person, we wanted to bring out all the best elements of the meeting.”
Instagram is a vital feature of helping people get to know future matches. Facebook Dating will allow you to include pictures from your Instagram feed within your dating profile for the U.S. launch. By the end of the year, users will also be able to link Instagram stories directly to Dating, enabling potential future matches and people you’re already talking to be able to get a sense of your life’s slightly less filtered version. “We believe that going where people are is incredibly important and allowing them to bring all these different networks and content types to help them get the things they’re trying to do,” says Fidji Simo, a Facebook vice president and head of the Facebook app.
Facebook also moves for younger users who appear to favor Instagram by incorporating Instagram and Stories into Dating. In other words, it uses Dating as a Trojan horse to get them back to the core Facebook app. What we see is that [Dating] seems to skew a little bit younger,” says Simo.” “We welcome Instagram’s addition because there are a lot of younger Instagram users who have built a lot of profiles and followers there.”
Third-party reports suggest that for young people in general, Facebook use is on the decline. A 2018 Pew Research survey that surveyed 4,594 individuals found that 44% of individuals aged 18 to 29 had deleted Facebook from their phones in the past year. A 2018 study by the eMarketer market research company estimated that the number of U.S. In 2018, Facebook users aged 18 to 24 decreased by 5.8 percent, continuing a trend that younger users are beginning to prefer Facebook to Instagram.
Although younger users have migrated towards Instagram, the Facebook app has also seen declines more generally, according to external research. According to the Washington Post, Nielson’s analysis for Facebook found that between 2016 and 2018, Facebook users of all ages used Facebook about 10 percent less in any given month compared to the same month the previous year. Edison Research has found that since the market research company began monitoring its user numbers in 2008, Facebook use has decreased for the first time in 2018. “In response to the question of whether Facebook Dating, as shown by these third-party reports, is an attempt to curb the declining use of the Facebook app, Simo said: “The use of the Facebook app is very good at a high level. We are delighted with the patterns.
Declining use figures help explain why, unlike the stand-alone apps popular among many major dating services in the United States, including Tinder, Bumble, and OkCupid, Dating is incorporated directly into Facebook’s app (though not its desktop experience), turning it into another tab close to its Marketplace, Groups, and Watching items.
The company has, however, taken care to create a completely separate dating experience, including a separate profile (since people tend to show a different side of themselves on a dating profile versus a normal Facebook profile) and a separate message thread (so that your aunt doesn’t accidentally send a flirty message). Facebook also promises that none of your dating activities will be used for ads, based on feedback from people about privacy (something Facebook has historically failed to provide). However, Facebook puts the data to use: information gathered by the organization about you can be used to warn potential matches that it shows you.
Despite its arguments that users want to trust that their dating profiles and data will never be merged with their daily Facebook profile, the company stopped developing a completely separate app, something Simo says is due to the lack of phone storage and input from users worldwide who say they don’t want to download yet another app.
The decision to incorporate Dating as a tab continues the move of Facebook to build a broader range of services that go beyond its News Feed, which has been criticized for its excessively sticky interface that seeks to keep you infinitely scrolling (and viewing as many ads as possible). While Simo says that delivering value to users is why the company is launching these services and that the company does not use dedication or time spent as a measure, I have found that these tabs seem to help keep users on Facebook. Recently, when I used Marketplace for the first time to sell a rug, I ended up checking Facebook more frequently as a result, even though I used the service as a utility.
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Finding love through Instagram Stories
If Facebook Dating is part of the company’s objective of offering a service more aimed at younger people, then Instagram is a crucial part of this strategy, partially because the company claims that it can help to make online Dating more comparable to dating IRL by enabling potential matches to peek into each other’s Instagrams.
If users want to connect their Instagram accounts to Facebook Dating, they will be able to add Instagram images to their profile, including a nine-image grid on their Instagram profile page, to provide a snapshot of their lives for potential matches. The idea is that you will have to present a more “authentic” side of yourself (your profile won’t show your Instagram handle to keep your privacy): you can’t edit what pictures show up there. Users will also be able to add Instagram followers to the “Secret Crush” feature of Facebook Dating, which allows you to list up to nine different romantically engaged Facebook friends or Instagram followers; if they also list you, Facebook lets you know and begins a message thread.
By the end of this year, Instagram Stories will arrive on Dating, differentiating Facebook Dating from any other dating app. “What it means to bring stories to the platform is that you can actually show people your interests, not just tell people about your interests,” says Sharp, who began his Facebook career in 2016 and was the product manager who launched Instagram Stories. I was so excited about launching [Stories] because it provided a more authentic insight into people’s lives. We think that precise dynamics are something that can put together daters, too.
Stories will show up as a possible match for someone that Facebook introduces to you, whether you have approved them. Sharp sees this as another means of checking future partners for you. Online Dating is always a collection of static profiles that you are Saying yes or no to that,’ says Sharp. “The beauty of stories is that, over time, you can see people.”
Sharp calls this progressive concept intimacy: In the real world, before deciding to go on a date with them, you could meet someone multiple times in various circumstances. It’s challenging to recreate that online. But the closest thing yet could be Instagram Tales. “We think that one of the big bets we’re making to make online dating much, much better is this authentic snapshot,” Sharp says.
Instagram’s incorporation isn’t shocking. On the site, individuals are already dating and seeking significant others, Simo says. It’s always more common among younger adults to share an Instagram handle with someone you’ve just met than a phone number that feels more private. In Instagram D.M.s, the early phases of Dating are already occurring.
Compared to conventional dating apps, Facebook also has several other benefits: It knows a lot about what you’re interested in. Users can opt-in to receive matches in Facebook Dating based on groups they are part of or events they will be going to (or have been to in the past). Facebook helps promote ready-made dates by connecting you with people who are also planning to attend the same events as you in the future.
Facebook says it can only use data that you have publicly posted on your profile, the expectations you provide in terms of what you are searching for during the sign-up process, and what Sharp calls “interest signals” to build matches. “For example, “If you and another person attended the same college, but have not listed that [on Dating], we will still use that as a sign of mutuality, while [Facebook] would not share it with the other person,” he says. For example, “If you and another person attended the same college, but have not listed that [on Dating].
Since Dating is only being introduced in the U.S. today, Americans have not yet had a chance to try it out. Early input from other nations has, however, been mixed. A Canadian writer discovered that she was overwhelmed with messages because Facebook Dating allows a message to be sent to you by any possible match, even if you have not shown interest, which may be awkward for female users who appear to experience more online sexual abuse. By designing the service, Facebook has sought to minimize abuse so that users can only send a single opening message and can not contact the user again until they respond, restricting messages to only text and GIFs (no images, links, purchases, or videos), and also adding the option to send your location to a nearby family member or friend when you go on a date to make women feel safer meeting a star.
Facebook Dating, which follows the same group standards as the main site, also has a tougher policy for those who violate these guidelines: one strike and you’re out. If anyone reports threats against you, you are automatically banned from the site (there is an appeals process) since the language people use when flirting can be nuanced).
Facebook would have to get these kinds of features right to draw users to Dating and hopefully add more millennial users to the Facebook app. Instagram can get them to the door, but to stay, they’ll need to have a good experience.
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