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Facebook is launching a dating feature inside its core app for users who are single — and it looks like the service will feature at least one main difference from its rivals: Connecting people through shared events.
It's a feature that aims to distinguish the company not just from the industry-leading Bumble and Tinder, but from rivals like OkCupid and Hinge who have somewhat similar offerings to what Facebook plans.
The women-centric Bumble and Match-owned Tinder present a virtual deck of cards with a user's picture, name and age. The two popular dating apps offer some additional bio information like occupation or education on that first facing card, too.
But for the most part, users swipe left or right — to indicate interest in matching with the person, or not — based on their photos. Meaningful information like a person's interests or values is found deeper in the profile, if at all.
OkCupid and Hinge go a little deeper — by listing mutual friends, and guiding users to a more detailed profile with survey questions and conversation icebreakers.
But Facebook's innovation in the dating app space — connecting users based on events — is largely new.
Facebook's dating feature — in many ways separate from the core app — will tie in Events from the larger platform, allowing users to "unlock" an event and indicate to other singles on the app that they're interested in attending.
"It mirrors the way people actually date, which is usually at events and institutions that they're connected to," chief product officer Chris Cox said during the announcement.
The app could show you, say, a Friday night beer tasting at the brewery you've been meaning to try — and then present a list of possible matches who said they would also want to go. From there you can start a private chat, make a plan and meet up.
Shares of Match and its parent company IAC both tanked following the news of Facebook's entrance into the space Tuesday.
A Bumble spokesperson declined to comment on the specifics of Facebook's iteration, but said the company was "thrilled" to see the news and has reached out to Facebook around a potential collaboration.
"Perhaps Bumble and Facebook can join forces to make the connecting space even more safe and empowering," the spokesperson said in a statement.
"Facebook could have used swiping in its attempt to enter the dating space, but instead they clearly drew inspiration from Hinge. It validates our anti-swipe, pro-dating movement," Hinge said in a statement. "We're happy to see that our movement to create meaningful connections, not games or hookups, is catching on."
A spokesperson for Match was not immediately available to comment on any potential similarities between Facebook's app and OkCupid.