Facebook Plays Cupid -- Would It Disrupt the Online Dating Industry?

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Facebook Dating is launching Thursday in the United States, the social media giant confirmed in a blog post.

The new feature would allow users to start meaningful relationships through shared interests, Facebook noted. In addition to that, it will give people a more authentic look at who their love interest is. 

Instagram users will also be able to benefit from the new service. They can integrate posts directly into their Facebook Dating profile and followers to ''Secret Crush'' lists. Users will be able to add Facebook and Instagram Stories to their dating profiles by the end of the year, the social media company confirmed.

Facebook also highlighted that the new feature is ''safe, inclusive, and opt-in.'' People can report or block users. Furthermore, it is not allowed to send pictures, links, payments, or videos in messages.

Facebook Dating also features a shield icon to let users share details of an upcoming date with friends and families via Facebook Messenger. People can also share their live location for safety reasons.

Facebook Dating team claimed that the dating profiles would not be visible to friends or to any people that are not using Facebook Dating. It would also not appear in the News Feed or Instagram. The new feature is available to users 18 years and older.

Facebook first announced the launch of its dating service in May 2018 at its F8 developer conference. Since then, Facebook Dating has gone viral in 20 countries worldwide, including Canada, Brazil, Singapore, Mexico, Columbia, and more. The feature will land in Europe next year, Facebook confirmed.

When Mark Zuckerberg first presented the new feature, he said its goal was to build real, long-term relationships and not just hookups. 

However, upon the launch of Facebook Dating in the United States, Nathan Sharp, its product lead declined to reveal what percentage of users were in a stable relationship or got married.

Sharp only confirmed that the average age of a Facebook Dating users is younger than the age of Facebook users. Sharp also commented that an internal Facebook study showed that 40% of people are not satisfied with their current dating app. 

Unlike its primary competitors on the dating market, OKCupid, Tinder, and Bumble, Facebook has the advantage of being able to approach directly 221 million users in the United States. A recent Pew Research study revealed that seven-in-ten adults use Facebook nationwide meaning that the potential user base is gigantic since day 1. For comparison, Tinder has only 3.8 million users.

What do you think? Do you believe that Facebook will disrupt the dating industry?