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Facebook Dating rolled out in Colombia to mixed reactions

By Sheetal Sukhija, The Las Vegas News
23 Sep 2018, 00 GMT+10

CALIFORNIA, U.S. - Earlier this year, Facebook unveiled its most boggling feature till date - revealing at its annual developer conference - the F8 in May, that it had been working in secrecy to start playing cupid for singletons across the world.

Announcing that it was on a mission to connect people, the world's largest social network revealed that it had been developing a dating feature, that would soon be tested internally, before it is released across the world.

Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg said at the time that "Facebook should be in the business of bringing people together in new ways" and therefore the company had decided to unveil a new dating feature.

Zuckerberg pointed out that the dating service would be an opt-in feature that allows users to create a dating profile, which would be separate from their existing Facebook account.

Now, months after the announcement was made, Facebook has rolled out its dating feature, but so far, the feature has been unveiled only in Colombia.

But why Colombia?

Facebook explained that it chose the Latin American country to roll out the new feature first because Colombians are particularly avid fans of the social networking site.

Facebook pointed out that each day, about 21 million of the total 50 million population of Colombia log onto Facebook.

Facebook Dating product manager Nathan Sharp said in a statement, "We view this as an incredible opportunity to continue helping people build relationships in meaningful ways on Facebook."

In addition, a large number of Colombians also use online dating websites to find partners.

Facebook said that its new feature allows users to create a separate "dating" profile that is not visible to their network of friends.

It explained that potential matches are recommended based on preferences and common interests.

According to Facebook, the service is programmed not to link people who are already connected as family or friends.

It said that Facebook Dating users will have the option of blocking people that they wish.

Facebook also noted that the feature comes with a basic chat service.

However, to keep spam out, the site will bar strangers from sending photos, videos or links.

While the service reached mixed reactions on day one, it remains to be seen how the masses in the country react to the service.

When he first announced the service in May, Zuckerberg was emphatic that the focus would be on helping people find partners, not flings.

He vowed, "This is going to be for building real, long-term relationships, not just hookups."

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