An Important Announcement from Garbo

Facebook Dating 101: A Crash Course in the Online Dating Platform

February 23, 2023
Radical Creasy

Have you ever found yourself wishing that it was socially acceptable to find dates through social media? Well, Facebook Dating might be just what you're looking for.

Launched in the Fall of 2019, the in-app dating feature caters to those who use Facebook regularly, offering them a dating experience without downloading yet another app. Read on to learn how Facebook Dating works, who can use the service, what makes it different from the other dating apps out there, and how you can stay safe when meeting someone new.

How Facebook Dating Works

Facebook Dating is a bit different than most other online dating services, like Tinder or Hinge, because there is no Facebook Dating app – the dating feature is integrated into the Facebook app itself and is only available in the mobile app experience on Android or iOS (iPhone’s operating system). Whether you're looking for a new platform to try out or searching for a new dating pool, Facebook Dating is a good option to explore especially if you’re not super savvy in creating online dating profiles or want to stick with a platform you already know.

How to Activate Facebook Dating

To get started using Facebook Dating, you have to activate Facebook Dating in your Facebook account using these four easy steps:

1. Log into the Facebook app on your mobile device (make sure you have the latest version of the app).

2. Tap the three horizontal lines in the top right corner.

3. Tap “Dating.”

4. Create your Facebook Dating profile using the prompts and start swiping!

You can also access the feature by searching “Facebook Dating” into the search bar on your Facebook app and tapping the shortcut.

Please note that you can only use Dating on the mobile app on iOS or Android, not via the Facebook website.

Once you've activated Facebook’s dating feature, the app will ask you more questions to flesh out your full Facebook Dating profile. You can indicate interests like sports and hobbies, whether or not you have kids, your height, age, gender identity, languages you speak and religious beliefs. But, remember, to think about safety first when revealing your hobbies or what photos to share on your Facebook Dating profile - more about this below.

Next, you'll set up your match preferences, which can be filtered by distance, height, gender, and more. Once you’ve set up your preferences and told the app how to filter your matches, Facebook Dating will suggest people that you can match with by swiping right on their profile. Swiping left means you don’t want to match with them. If you and the other person both swipe right, you’ll match and can start having a conversation.

Who Can Use Facebook Dating?

Facebook Dating is available to anyone 18 and older with a Facebook account, but it's mostly used by those who are on the platform frequently. With this in mind, remember that Facebook’s largest demographic falls within the 25-34 years old age range.

It's ideal for people who don't want to download another app – an easy segue into the online dating scene if you’re a busy single parent or lightly dipping your toes back in the dating pool after a divorce. In other words, Facebook Dating is a great option if you're comfortable using Facebook!

Where is Facebook Dating Available?

Facebook Dating is currently available to Facebook users in the US, Canada, and Mexico, along with 19 other countries including Argentina, Thailand, Vietnam, Colombia, Brazil, Chile, and more. It was also made available in Europe in 2020. For the full list, visit the official Facebook Dating info page.

Unique Features

The beauty of Facebook Dating is that you don't have to download yet another app, which can be a relief in a world where there's an app for everything. Located within the Facebook app, you can build your dating profile based on pre-filled information taken from your existing Facebook social media profile, making it easier than ever to get started making matches.

You might be wondering: is Facebook Dating different from other dating services? The answer is a mixed bag. Like Bumble, you can integrate your Instagram posts directly into your profile so your potential matches can see more of your virtual personality, which helps them get to know you before meeting you. There’s also the ability to add Facebook and Instagram stories to your profile as well. You can even add up to nine Facebook friends and Instagram followers in the Secret Crush feature. This allows you to be matched with people you know if you both add each other to your Secret Crush list!

Additionally, unlike most apps, Facebook Dating allows you to opt into events and groups to meet people with similar interests. This feature was designed with the knowledge in mind that finding a partner is a very personal journey and it can help to find someone with a shared interest to get the conversation started or give you something to do together.

Is Facebook Dating Safe?

Facebook Dating offers many of the safety features typically seen within other leading dating apps including a number of safety features to preemptively prevent harm and foul play on its platform. While no online dating app or platform is guaranteed to be safe and each individual you connect with is in control of the harm they cause, we believe online dating apps and platforms should be doing a lot to keep users safe — and we see a lot of those features on Facebook Dating. We’ll provide a quick overview of Facebook Dating safety features so you can make an informed decision when deciding to use the platform.

It's important to note that 85% of catfishing scams start on Facebook, according to the Better Business Bureau, so be sure to read our blog on catfishing to stay safe from fraudulent activity.

1. Facebook Dating is Opt-In: If you don’t want to use Facebook Dating, don’t sweat it – it’s opt-in only! If you do opt in, your dating activity is kept separate from all other Facebook activity, and the platform won’t match you with anyone who is your Facebook friend (unless you both add each other to your Secret Crush list).

2. High Control of Profile Information: While Facebook Dating does pull basic information from your Facebook profile, you can edit the information and privacy settings on all of it so you only disclose what you want to disclose and avoid sharing too much personal data.

3. Advanced Match Preferences: One of the unique safety features of Facebook Dating is that you can choose to be matched (or not) with friends of friends to get a better sense of who someone is based on who they know. This isn't a fail-safe method, but it can give you more information on a person before meeting them.

4. Share Your Plans: If you match with someone and decide to meet up, you can share your date plans including time and location with friends on Facebook Messenger so they can find you in case of an emergency.

5. Block People Within Dating: You can block people in Facebook Dating without affecting your relationship on other parts of Facebook. This means that they won't be able to see your profile, send you messages, or come up in your suggested matches.

Despite the efforts platforms and users take to keep themselves safe, there are inevitably some harmful people who fall through the cracks.

Common Facebook Dating Scams

Facebook Dating scams can look all kinds of ways, but they're usually identified through a few common tactics: the use of stolen photos, extensive back stories and excuses, and manipulation to gain information. Let's go over a few examples to help you better understand Facebook Dating scams.

1. Military Michael: Oftentimes, scammers will use stolen photos from people in the military and make service part of their backstory, in an attempt to explain the lack of real-life contact. If the photos or information doesn’t seem real, or something seems off, you’re probably right!

2. Demanding Danny: Scammers will often try to move off the Facebook platform as soon as possible. This is because Facebook tracks your messaging behavior and can ban people for sketchy activity. If someone is pushy with you about taking the conversation elsewhere, like WhatsApp for example, they might be scamming you.

3. Crisis Caroline: If a person asks you to pay for something on their behalf (usually through a very specific link), they’re usually trying to gather your banking information. If they ask you to wire money to help them get out of a sticky situation (often they’ll claim they’ve been scammed), they’ll probably take the money and run! If the person you’re talking to is constantly in crisis, they’re very likely a scammer.

Be wary of this kind of behavior and do your research to ensure you’re protecting yourself, your finances, and your personal information. Like many people say, if it feels too good to be true, it probably is! Trust your gut.

Facebook Dating Reviews

While Facebook has clearly put some thought into safety features, Eddie Hernandez tried Facebook Dating on behalf of users and found many privacy concerns just like the ones associated with Meta. For example, users can indicate interests, join groups, and RSVP to events on Facebook Dating, which will then show up on their dating profiles. Meta advertises this with the line: “Find love through what you like,” which is a great opportunity to meet like-minded people with similar interests. However, stalkers and scammers might take this as an invitation to visit you at an event or keep track of your whereabouts.

Harrison Brocklehurst of The Tab did a similar experiment yielding similar results. He notes that getting set up is easy, but quickly realizes that the platform itself has plentiful issues. For one, “the lack of app means no notifications,” and two, Facebook has become a platform for the older generation, so those of us who are younger and dating might not find the potential partners were looking for.

An article by Healthy Framework explores the same question, and concludes that “Facebook Dating is not the best or most secure dating app on the market,” arguing that Facebook isn’t revered for its user safety and reminds us that most of us have gotten a sketchy message from a friend only to find out they were hacked. They also note the abundance of underaged Facebook Dating users which is a major issue for not only Facebook Dating but all online dating platforms. This blog gave Facebook Dating an overall rating of 5.6 out of 10, which we think says a lot.

So, overall it sounds like most people are not crazy about Facebook Dating, but luckily, it’s completely free to use, so there’s little risk in trying it out for yourself (just be mindful of the concerns brought up in these reviews)!

So, What Next?

It’s up to you which dating platforms you use and why you use them. Each online platform including dating apps have their own vibe, unique niche, and community of users — so be mindful of knowing that the Facebook demographic (especially those who may engage on the dating side of it) will reflect that.

Still want to move forward with Facebook Dating? Check out our blog on online dating questions and icebreakers, and be sure to read our digital dating safety tips.

As always, regardless of which dating service you decide to use — you should utilize the online resources available to you to protect yourself. Don’t feel weird about running someone’s name through Google to see what comes up – and definitely search your date on Garbo before meeting them in real life to see if they have a history of violent or harmful behavior.

Remember: your safety and comfort come first, always.

Happy connecting!

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