Facebook Dating’s interface looks like Facebook. Again, it’s just one part of the same Facebook mobile app. You get to the Facebook Dating section by tapping the heart-shaped button on the overflow menu at the bottom-right corner of the screen, which also takes you to other parts of Facebook inside the app. Everything blurs together a little too much, and it’s too easy to accidentally wind up on your newsfeed when you thought you were swiping on promising dates.
Profile photos dominate the screen, and you can say yes or no, Tinder-style, by tapping the big X or the big heart. With Second Look, you can go back to profiles you’ve passed on.
Tap on a profile to see a more in-depth portrait of your object of affection. The level of detail may remind you of Match. Scroll down to see more pictures, a summary of their profile, their answers to personality questions, and even a selection from their Instagram feed. Then you can make a more informed choice of whether to swipe left or right. There actually is no swiping, just tapping buttons, but the idiom is what it is.
For a different browsing experience, you can scroll through an integrated feed of Facebook Stories on the home screen. Tap them to look at curated collections of photos and videos from potential matches.
Once you’ve made a match, you can start sending messages to each other. Facebook Dating’s messaging functionality is purposefully more limited than regular Messenger. You can’t send links, money, photos, or videos. This is for security and helps Facebook Dating feel like it really is safely kept away from the nastier internet at large. Besides, text and GIFs are all you need for cute communication. The one, justified exception is that you can use Messenger to send details about your upcoming date to a protective friend.
Some dating apps, like eharmony, are expensive and not really worth it for free users. Others, like OkCupid, are totally fine if you don’t spend money, even if they do give you the option. However, unless you count your personal data as currency, Facebook Dating is completely free.
Fortunately, Facebook Dating doesn’t use its lack of a price tag to justify a lack of features. Beyond the robust profiles, the app gives you more ways to search that only Facebook can. See folks who are in the same Facebook groups as you or who went to the same Facebook events as you. Granted, this introduces the biggest risk of encountering people you already know. I didn’t see friends but I did see dangerously close friends of friends. Still, this is a great way to directly connect with someone you already have something in common with.
Besides, maybe you do want to date your friends. Maybe you’ve just been looking for the right excuse. Facebook Dating’s Secret Crush feature is that excuse. Here you can followers as folks you’re romantically interested in. No one will know you’ve done this. If your unrequited love joins Facebook Dating and adds you as their Secret Crush, you’ll both be notified and you can start chatting about how great it is to finally share your true feelings out in the open. If you’re feeling especially bold, you can use the app to let your friends know about Facebook Dating and hope they take the bait.
Social Distancing With Facebook Dating
As the world continues to shelter in place to combat the COVID-19 epidemic, virtual dating features have been quite important to dating apps. Facebook Dating doesn’t have any virtual dating features, per se. There’s no way to video chat directly in the app and your matches are limited to those around you, even though you can expand that limit to an extremely generous 240-mile radius. Other dating apps are connecting people far apart as quarantine pen-pals.