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(Pocket-lint) - Facebook has a free dating service called Facebook Dating, which is available in the US and the UK, among other countries. It launched in 2019 and has been gradually rolling out globally since.

Here's everything you need to know about Facebook Dating, including how it works and what it offers.

What is Facebook Dating?

Facebook Dating is a dating service designed as a way for Facebook users to find meaningful relationships through things they have in common (i.e., similar interests and groups). It's supposed to take away the tediousness of creating a separate dating profile, and even Instagram is integrated, so you can share Instagram posts directly to your dating profile and add both Facebook friends and Instagram followers to secret crush lists.

Naturally, you may be sceptical of Facebook Dating. After all, finding a partner is super personal, even if online. So, you must opt-in to use Facebook Dating. You'll also have the ability to report and block anyone, prohibiting people from sending you photos, videos, messages, and so on.

Other key features:

  • You can add your Instagram posts to your profile in Facebook Dating.
  • You can opt into Events and Groups to see people with similar interests, though, remember, you will also be visible to them.
  • You can share details of a date - with your live location - via a friend on Facebook Messenger, to ensure you feel safer on a date.
  • You can add Facebook and Instagram Stories to your dating profile, too.

How does Facebook Dating work?

Set up your profile

Facebook Dating is located in a tab in the main menu of the Facebook mobile app - tap on the three lines in the bottom right corner to access. Tao on the Facebook Dating tab and opt in to create a Dating profile (separate from your main profile).

You will be able to fill in personal details about yourself, like height, religion, job title, degrees and education, and whether you have children, etc. Facebook may also suggest photos and information from your Facebook profile, which you can edit or remove when creating your dating profile.

Note: You must be 18 years or older to use Facebook Dating.

Finding a match

During setup, Facebook Dating will ask you to specify your gender and the gender(s) of the people you are interested in matching with on the service. You'll see inclusive gender options like cis woman, trans woman, cis man, trans man, and non-binary person, and you can select whether you're interested in everyone, women, men, trans women, or trans men. None of this information will be shared with potential matches.

You'll only be suggested to others who've opted into Facebook Dating, and people will be suggested to you based on your preferences, interests, and "other things you do on Facebook". You will see friends of friends and people not in your friend circle.

Facebook Dating won't match you with your Facebook friends - unless you both add each other to your "Secret Crush" lists. (More on this below.)

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Contacting a match

If you are interested in someone, there is no swiping involved, You just comment directly on their Facebook Dating profile or tap on the Like button to let them know. If you aren't interested, you can pass.

All your activities will stay on Facebook Dating and won't be shared to Facebook.

FacebookWhat is Facebook Dating and how does it work image 2

What is a Secret Crush list?

Secret Crush lets you match with people you already know on Facebook and Instagram. You can select up to nine of your Facebook friends or Instagram followers to add to a Secret Crush list. (But, to add Instagram followers, you must connect your Instagram account to Facebook Dating).

Those people will then get a notification saying someone has a crush on them. If your crush adds you to their Secret Crush list, too, it's a match. However, if your crush isn't on Facebook Dating, doesn't create a Secret Crush list, or doesn't put you on their list, they won't know a thing.

FacebookWhat is Facebook Dating and how does it work image 3

Where is Facebook Dating available?

Facebook Dating is now live in the US, UK and several other countries including Argentina, Bolivia, Brazil, Canada, Chile, Colombia, Ecuador, Guyana, Laos, Malaysia, Mexico, Paraguay, Peru, the Philippines, Singapore, Suriname, Thailand, Uruguay, and Vietnam.

Writing by Maggie Tillman. Editing by Britta O'Boyle. Originally published on 5 September 2019.