Given all the controversy surrounding Facebook and how third parties have been slurping up up our data and using it in ways that fall outside their terms and conditions, it would have seemed prudent to hang back from releasing any new services that might be considered sensitive. But Facebook is pushing forward with testing of its new dating service.
First announced during Facebook's F8 developer conference, Facebook has started internal testing with their own staff. This was revealed on Twitter.
Facebook is internally testing Facebook Dating.
I can't go past the signup screen because they are not activating all non-employee Dating profiles because, well, it's "pre-launch" ;) pic.twitter.com/VQFHUJIkuX
— Jane Manchun Wong (@wongmjane) August 3, 2018
Jane Manchun Wong, the Facebook staffer who revealed that testing of the service has commenced said Facebook Dating will be part of the core Facebook app. It will include "Conversation Starters", as well as being able to see if potential dates have common interests and the ability to delete your dating profile.
Facebook isn't expecting staff to date each other, saying they have populated the test environment with fake data.
When the app was first announced by Mark Zuckerberg he said "There are 200 million people on Facebook who list themselves as single, so clearly there’s something to do here. Today, we are announcing a new set of features coming soon, around dating."
Of course, what Zuckerberg missed was that many people list themselves as single in order to not provide Facebook with correct information.
There used to be some sort of stigma in using online dating services but that is disappearing. I met my wife through an online dating service and many of my friends have found partners online.
While Facebook is continuing to do a lot to rehabilitate their reputation in the wake of the Cambridge Analytica scandal, such as cutting off hundreds of thousands of apps that haven't been resubmitted for testing it would have seemed prudent to have, at least, kept this ongoing development quiet until they had rebuilt trust.