Facebook starts internal testing of its dating app

Mark Zuckerberg and Priscilla Chan

"Facebook is internally testing Facebook Dating", she wrote.

The app, which is now being tested internally by Facebook workers, allows users to specify if they want to match with people with mutual friends and choose from five genders: "trans woman", "woman", "trans man", "man" and "non-binary people".

A Twitter user named Jane Manchun Wong shared screenshots of what she uncovered from Facebook's tests.

By reverse-engineering the code of Facebook's most recent version of the app, Ms Wong was able to discover hidden features that hadn't yet been turned on. The objective for this dogfooding is to test the end-to-end product experience for bugs and confusing UI (user interface).

Facebook's offering will put it in competition with existing dating apps and services, ranging from Match.com to Tinder, in an increasingly popular sector estimated to contribute £11.7 billion to the United Kingdom economy each year. "This is not meant for dating your co-workers", read a screenshot. "Dogfooding" is a term used by tech companies to refer to internal testing of a product before it's released to the public.

"This is going to be for building real, long-term relationships, not just hook-ups", Zuckerberg said at the conference.

"We have designed this with privacy and safety in mind from the beginning". The company has yet to announce when the feature will rollout.

TechCrunch reports that Facebook plans on placing limits on the number of people users can express an interest in, and will enable would-be daters to communicate with either other via WhatsApp or Messenger. The Dating feature won't cost anything and won't show ads, but Facebook might reconsider the monetization status later on.

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