The introduction of short-lived content into its dating service illustrates how Facebook continues to bet on online dating, an already crowded market, even as it faces privacy concerns., a feature in the main social network, is currently available in 20 countries including the US, Mexico, Thailand, Vietnam and Canada. It's coming to Europe by early 2020.
When Facebook introduced its dating service, some users told CNET they thought the feature was too similar to other dating apps. Adding Stories, a format that allows users to post photos and videos that vanish in 24 hours, can help Facebook Dating users show a more "authentic" version of themselves while helping to keep a conversation with a match going, said Charmaine Hung, the lead product manager on Stories for Facebook Dating.
When Hung was on dating apps, she noticed a lot of people expressed an interest in traveling. But if they were able to share ephemeral photos and videos from a recent trip, she felt like they "could have a better connection with that person." More than a billion Stories are also shared across Facebook's apps every day.
"That's actually a huge opportunity for us to meet people where they're already connecting and they love to share their everyday lives," she said.
Facebook's venture into online dating also comes with risks. Online dating apps have grappled with privacy and security concerns, including , scams and cyberstalking. Users will have to be careful about what ephemeral content they share on their dating profile too, because it can show others where they're currently at or what they're doing. Facebook said users, who have to be 18 years or older, will be able to choose what Stories they share on their dating profiles. Facebook Dating users you have blocked or passed on also won't be able to view your Stories.
Unsolicited nude photos, such as so-called "dick pics," were a main concern while Facebook was creating a way to add Stories to its dating service, Hung said. That's why Facebook Dating users are only allowed to add Stories from their Facebook and Instagram accounts and not directly from within the dating feature. Users can also report a story, she said, if they think it violates Facebook's and Instagram's rules against nudity and other offensive content.
"We can leverage all of our robust monitoring tools that Facebook and Instagram have to detect inappropriate content, and then they get taken down quite quickly," Hung said.
To add an Instagram or Facebook Story to your dating profile, you go to the feature's settings and find the option to "Connect Stories." While you can add individual Stories, there's also an option to upload your Facebook Stories automatically. You can also share a Story to your dating profile after creating one on Instagram. Facebook Dating users can "like" a story and matches can continue to view the ephemeral content you post onto your profile.
Other dating apps have been experimenting with ephemeral content. Tinder used to have a feature called Moments that allowed its users to share photos that disappeared in 24 hours but scrapped it in 2015, according to TechCrunch. In April, Snap announced it was bringing Stories to third-party apps, including Tinder by the end of this year.
Facebook declined to say how many people currently use its dating service. The company is rolling out the ability to add Stories over the next few months in all the countries that currently have its dating service.