Facebook started testing its new mobile dating service announced at its F8 developer conference in early May as a potential rival to the likes of Tinder and OkCupid, with the first phase of the company's experimentation efforts being focused exclusively on its own employees. App researcher Jane Manchun Wong first discovered the feature earlier this week, having documented its registration and login screens, as can be seen in the gallery below. She wasn't able to actually start using the service as the thereof presently requires a U.S. Facebook employee account, which the company confirmed in a statement provided to The Verge over the weekend.
The firm clarified that the currently ongoing testing initiative is solely dedicated for hunting bugs and general user interface issues. "This is not meant for dating your coworkers," a company spokesperson said. As a result of that approach, all employees who opted to participate in the experiment have been asked to use fake data for their profiles, whereas their dating accounts and activities will be deleted before the service goes live in the United States in the coming months. The dating platform is also understood to be launching in other countries by the end of the year but no details regarding its product roadmap have yet been disclosed by the Menlo Park, California-based social media giant.
The solution itself will be integrated into the main Facebook app for Android and iOS, with the browser version of the world's most popular social media network also being expected to feature it in some shape or form. Match Group, the largest dating service provider on the planet, said it was surprised by Facebook's decision to attempt competing with its platforms following the company's early May announcement but remains generally unconcerned about the upcoming solution. Facebook is hoping its dating service will help bolster its user engagement rates which disappointed investor following the publication of the company's latest financials.
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