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Facebook first announced at it’s F8 conference that it is testing a new dating feature within the proprietary Facebook app. This dating and relationships feature will allow  people to create a dating profile that is separate from their Facebook profile. Potential matches in Facebook Dating will be recommended based on dating preferences, your location, shared page likes, similarities between your Facebook profiles, and mutual friends.

Starting today, Facebook is rolling out a country-wide test in Colombia of its new Dating feature. Users can browse for matches within a 100km radius. Users have to input their location, which Facebook will verify through their phone’s GPS. Although, users won’t be able to change their virtual location to browse for matches elsewhere.

For now Facebook Dating is mobile-only. The app will be available entirely within Facebook’s Android and iOS apps to users 18 and older, free to use. Per Facebook guidelines, the Dating app will be available only if users opt for it. They need to create a separate dating profile which will include a more limited amount of personal information.

Once you start browsing, Facebook’s recommendation algorithm will allow you to see friends of friends or people with whom you have fewer mutual friends. Your existing friends, and the people you have blocked will be excluded from the dating pool. However, you can still find a potential soulmate, in a person you’ve unfriended.

When browsing, you’ll see a selection of people you can “express interest” in by tapping a photo or an answer to a question prompt. You can then add a note and send it to the person you’re interested in. The recipient can then either send a message back or ignore it. Users can send as many messages they want, but can visit only upto 100 profiles are day. Messages are limited to text and emoji for which Facebook Dating uses its own messaging interface, not Facebook Messenger.

Facebook dating also allows users to expand their dating pool with the integration of Facebook Groups and Events. Users can opt in to showing their Dating profile to members of a group, they expect to find good matches in. The same goes for Facebook Events, where the feature is enabled for both upcoming and past events.

If the test goes well, Facebook may roll Dating to more countries shortly in its mission to create meaningful connections. According to Product Manager, Nathan Sharp, “If Dating takes off in Colombia, it could be promoted to a more prominent place within the app, or even to an app of its own. Our goal is to make Facebook the single best place to start a relationship. It could get there eventually — but it will need to evolve along the way.

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Content Marketing Editor at Packt Hub. I blog about new and upcoming tech trends ranging from Data science, Web development, Programming, Cloud & Networking, IoT, Security and Game development.