Facebook confirms ‘Sparked’: Tinder competitor will offer ‘Speed Dating’ experience with short video interactions

Facebook Sparked Online Dating
Facebook offering a video-based speed dating platform. Pic credit: athree23/Pixabay

After Facebook Dating, the social media giant has introduced ‘Sparked’. The platform offers a “Speed Dating” experience and varies from Tinder, OkCupid, and other popular online dating and romantic engagement platforms.

Facebook has officially confirmed it is testing a speed-dating platform called Sparked. Unlike Tinder and other platforms, Sparked’s chosen medium for interaction is ‘verified’ video.

Sparked from New Product Experimentation to follow Facebook Dating platform?

Facebook has reportedly acknowledged it is testing Sparked, its own take on Speed Dating. The platform differentiates itself from other online dating platforms by offering short videos as the introduction and interaction medium.

Facebook has stressed Sparked is in a “small, external beta test”. The company has designed the platform to generate insights about how video dating could work.

Interestingly, Facebook has indicated Sparked could improve people’s experiences with Facebook products. The company hasn’t offered the platform on app stores. It is available as a website only.

Confirming the existence of Sparked, a spokesperson for Facebook’s New Product Experimentation Team said: “Sparked is an early experiment by New Product Experimentation. We’re exploring how video-first speed dating can help people find love online”.

How does Facebook Sparked Video Speed Dating platform function and how to use the same?

During the sign-up process, Sparked continually informs users to “be kind,” “keep this a safe space” and “show up. According to Facebook Sparked’s official description, the new dating virtual platform focuses on “video dating for kind people,”.

The website cycles users through four-minute video chat sessions with their potential matches. If both parties like what they see and hear, they can then opt for another, longer virtual date lasting around ten minutes.

If the second session goes well too, users can continue their interaction through any other platform or medium of their choice. These include Facebook Messenger, Instagram, Email, and even actual phone numbers. Needless to add, Facebook doesn’t seem to be forcing users to stay on the platform for the duration of the relationship.

Facebook Dating, however, was and still is “within Facebook” experience. But Sparked seems quite liberal.  Facebook had earlier announced it would roll out a sort of virtual dating experience that leveraged Messenger for video chats.

Incidentally, competing online dating platforms have indicated they would adopt video as the preferred medium of first interaction. The online dating ecosystem has experienced robust growth despite the pandemic.

It is apparent that Facebook will want to get involved in the highly engaging and lucrative ecosystem. Interestingly, the company claims over 1.5 billion matches in 20 countries. However, a computer-generated, algorithm-driven match is not pairing.

Incidentally, Facebook has confirmed that “human employees” will first view the video messages in Sparked. This could ensure users do not receive racist, sexist, or otherwise offensive messages.

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