The company is now testing its "Facebook Dating" feature internally. App researcher and reverse engineer Jane Manchun Wong dug up the signup screen for the new feature, and shared screenshots on Twitter on Friday. We've republished her screenshots here, with permission.
The screenshots provide a new insight into how Facebook is planning to dip its toe into the world of dating, as well as the precautions it is taking to prevent abuse among its workforce.
Users attempting to sign up are first greeted with a message titled "For Facebook Employees."
This product is for US Facebook employees who have opted-in to dogfooding Facebook's new dating product," the message reads. ("Dogfooding" is a tech industry term for testing products internally on a company's own employees.)
It adds: "This is not meant for dating your coworkers."
Facebook then asks employees to only use "dummy" data that will be deleted before the official launch, and signs off with a warning alluding to the toxic culture that can surround much of online dating: "As a reminder, Facebook policies such as harassment and code of conduct apply to all dogfooding activities."
Would-be users can then decide their privacy settings: Your Facebook friends won't be able to see your dating profile, and users can decide whether or not they want to allow anyone with mutual friends to see it. In other words, your Facebook profile and your dating profile should be as separate as you'd like them to be (emphasis on "should").
After that there are two questions on gender and sexual preferences, "What's your gender?" (options include Woman, Trans Woman, Man, Trans Man, and Non-binary) and "Who are you interested in seeing? ("Women, Trans Women, Men, Trans Men, or Non-binary people.")
The colour-scheme of the feature is distinct from the rest of Facebook. Instead of the traditional blue, it uses a soft, rosy red, with purple illustrations — perhaps an attempt to clearly differentiate it from the social network. Of course, this is just a test, and that could change before the official launch.
Another discovery made by Wong is that Facebook is apparently testing a dating feature called "Conversation Starters," which will help break the ice with your matches.
Facebook announced the dating feature at its F8 conference earlier this year, which came in the wake of the Cambridge Analytica scandal. The company has come under considerable fire over its handling of user data and privacy issues, and it will need to walk a fine line as it launches Facebook Dating to avoid the inevitable privacy concerns.
In clearly separating users' dating profiles from their existing friend circles, the company appears to be trying to get ahead of the issue. It'll need to prove itself out to top Tinder, currently the most popular dating app going.
"This is going to be for building real, long-term relationships — not just for hookups," CEO Mark Zuckerberg said when it was announced. "We have designed this with privacy and safety in mind from the beginning. Your friends aren’t going to see your profile, and you’re only going to be suggested to people who are not your friends."
A Facebook spokesperson confirmed the company is currently "testing Facebook Dating internally (as we regularly do with new features)," but said they "don't have anything more to share right now.
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