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Facebook is testing a video speed-dating service where users have to pledge to create a safe space, be kind - and, please, don't ghost

Apr 13, 2021, 22:32 IST
Business Insider
Facebook
  • Facebook is testing a new app that lets users speed date over video.
  • The app, called Sparked, matches users for 4-minute "dates." A second date would last 10 minutes.
  • Facebook already has one dating app, Facebook Dating, which is similar to rivals like Hinge.

Facebook is testing out a new speed dating service that lets users date over video.

The new service, called Sparked, will offer "video speed dating for kind people," according to a landing page for the app. Users won't need public profiles and won't have to swipe through matches or direct message with people to set up dates. Sparked is free to use but does require a Facebook account, according to the landing page.

The Verge's Ashley Carman was the first to report about the new app. According to The Verge, which went through the sign-up process, the app will cycle through video dates that last for 4 minutes. If both users have a good time, they can schedule a second date that lasts 10-minutes. If the second date goes well, users are prompted to keep in touch on another platform, such as Instagram, iMessage, or email, according to The Verge.

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Before going through the sign-up process, users have to agree to a set of rules: be kind, make the app a safe space, and show up for your dates. Kindness is mentioned several times during the sign-up process for Sparked, including a step where users will have to explain what makes them a kind dater. The responses will be "reviewed by a human at Sparked" before they can go on dates, The Verge reports.

Prospective users are also asked whether they're looking to date women, men, non-binary people, or trans people during the sign-up process, according to The Verge.

Sparked is made by Facebook's NPE team - short for New Product Experimentation - which tests new, standalone services for Facebook. When The Verge went through the sign-up process, it was placed on a waitlist, so it's unclear if and when the app will be live.

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"Sparked is an early experiment by New Product Experimentation," a Facebook spokesperson told Insider. "We're exploring how video-first speed dating can help people find love online. This is a small beta test, so we'll keep you posted on how it works out."

The video speed dating aspect of Sparked bears some resemblance to Chatroulette, the late-aughts website that cycled through randomized webcam feeds. The app skyrocketed in popularity just months after it launched in 2009, but quickly drew nudity and graphic content.

While video dating would be a new service for Facebook, it wouldn't be the social media giant's first foray into dating apps. Facebook launched Facebook Dating in September 2019, which competes with apps like Hinge or Bumble by allowing users to build a profile and sift through potential matches - like Hinge, users can "like" others' profiles and comment on their photos to start a conversation.

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While Facebook Dating hasn't become as popular as rivals like Tinder, Facebook has a key advantage in the dating space: a user base that numbers in the billions, which makes it easier for users to have their profile information flow into a dating profile.

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