Facebook Beta Tests Virtual Speed Dating App ‘Sparked’

Written by Dominic Whitlock

Facebook is in the process of testing a new video speed dating app called Sparked, according to an article from The Verge.

It was created by Facebook’s New Product Experimentation (NPE) Team, which is dedicated to producing spin-off apps that are completely separate from the main social media platform.

Sparked appears to focus very strongly on “kind” dating, with the sign up process including a section for prospective members to explain what makes them a kind dater. There is also a landing page that tells them the benefits of being kind to other people.

It promises no swiping or public profiles, but singles will still need a Facebook account to register.

Users are set up on an undisclosed number of four-minute virtual speed dates and are given the option to organise a 10-minute long second date if they mutually agree. The Verge also found evidence of an offline speed dating event in Chicago, but it wasn’t obvious how attendees could register.

The app is open to users of all sexualities and gender identities, and they are able to choose whether or not they are interested in dating trans people.

Ashley Carman, Senior Reporter at The Verge, received confirmation from a Facebook spokesperson who told her: “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.”

When Global Dating Insights tried to access the Sparked webpage it was met with a message stating “Sorry, this content isn’t available right now”.

As the virtual dating trend grew during the early stages of the pandemic, the majority of leading platforms added in-app features to help keep their community connected. Facebook’s offering was a lot more discreet, instead only introducing a link to the video calls on Messenger.

Facebook Dating hasn’t had the impact on the industry that some people expected, with a lot of executives, most recently Hinge’s Justin McLeod, saying they haven’t seen the technology giant gaining much traction.

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