"Liking" Someone On Facebook Just Took on a Whole New Meaning

Move over Tinder and Bumble, Facebook is entering the online dating game

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Facebook dating app: A close up photo of a girl wearing jeans and typing on her cellphone
(Photo: Elizabeth Fernandez/Getty Images)

Facebook doesn’t just want to help you friend friends and events you may be interested in—it also wants to help you find your next romantic partner.

CEO Mark Zuckerberg made the announcement that Facebook will launch a new set of features in their existing app at the company’s developer conference in San Jose on Tuesday. “There are 200 million people on Facebook that list themselves as single, so clearly there’s something to do here,” said Zuckerberg. The company aims to help its users find meaningful, long-term relationships—the service is “not just for hook-ups,” he said, a not-so-subtle way of trying to differentiating Facebook’s offering from existing apps.

Here’s what we know about it so far:

How will it work?

“Dating,” the no-nonsense name for the service, will be an option within the existing Facebook app. Users will have a second profile, using their first name only and a separate inbox for messages. In dating mode, users won’t be able to send images—it’s a text-only messaging service for safety reasons.

What will it look like?

Facebook isn’t reinventing the wheel here—their app will look a lot like the most popular apps out there. In a preview shown at the conference, it looks very similar to existing photo-heavy apps like Tinder and Bumble and will have a similar method to matching users (i.e., hitting either “pass” or interested).

How does Facebook hope to create more meaningful connections?

Not only will Facebook use dating preferences, mutual friends and other information from a user’s profile to match them with other users, it will also offer a feature where users can “unlock” their profile in groups and events. This means users can opt to show their dating profile to users in groups they are part of or events they are going to—the idea being people will similar interests will make better matches, but also, you might actually be able to spot people IRL at the vegan food fest you’re attending.

How will Facebook guarantee privacy?

While some are raising their eyebrows at Facebook launching a feature that will mine further intimate knowledge from its users at a time where Facebook’s privacy has been seriously compromised, Zuckerberg tried to address this preemptively in his comments: “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.”

When will it launch?

Zuckerberg didn’t commit to a date, only saying that it’s “coming soon.” In the presentation that followed by Facebook’s product chief Chris Cox, there was also only a vague reference to a timeline for release, saying that the company was “excited to share a lot more on this in the next few months.”

Related: 

Let’s Talk About First Times: An Alternative Look at Sexual Milestones
Ask AnnieThing: Guys Keep Saying Awful Things to Me, Should I Just Give Up Dating?
“It Varies Between Having Sex, F-cking & Making Love”: Millennial Women on Their Sex Lives

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