• Facebook has launched its new dating service, which was teased earlier this year and rolled out in beta to employees a few months later.
  • For now, Facebook Dating is only available in Colombia, but the company is expected to bring it to other countries in the future.
  • The service is built into Facebook’s core mobile app, but is separate from most features in it.
  • The service will compete against the likes of Tinder, Bumble, and OkCupid.

Facebook is officially in the dating game, but for now, you’ll have to be in Colombia to use it to find your next match.

The social networking giant on Thursday launched its new dating feature, which it unveiled earlier this year. Facebook Dating is only available in the South American country, although the company is expected to eventually offer it in the US and other countries.

“More than 200 million people have listed themselves as single in their relationship status on Facebook,” Nathan Sharp, the product manager for the new dating feature, said in a statement. “We view this as an incredible opportunity to continue helping people build relationships in meaningful ways on Facebook.”

Facebook is offering the new feature as a service within its eponymous mobile app. Users have to opt into it. Once they do, Facebook will suggest potential matches based on interests and activities. Unlike Tinder, the leading dating app, Facebook’s service doesn’t allow users to swipe left or right to choose potential dates based on their looks alone.

Although built within Facebook's app, the dating service is kept largely apart from it. The company won't suggest users' Facebook friends as possible matches, for example. And users' dating activity won't be posted to the News Feed or their Facebook profile pages.

Facebook Dating has plenty of rivals

Facebook is entering a crowded market, with apps ranging from Tinder to OkCupid to Bumble catering to singles looking for romantic connections. However, Facebook's wealth of knowledge about users' interests and activities could help give it a leg up. The company is hoping to distinguish the service from some of its rivals by focusing on helping users find long-term relationships, rather than hookups or one-night stands.

Screen shots of Facebook Dating, a new dating service from the social network that launched in Colombia on September 20, 2018.

Foto: Screen shots of Facebook Dating, which is a part of the main Facebook app, but is kept separate from other Facebook services.sourceFacebook

The company announced the dating service at its F8 developer conference earlier this year and touted it as an example of how it is increasingly focusing on promoting "meaningful" interactions among its users. The service comes as usage of Facebook's primary service has been declining and trust in the company has been waning in the wake of a series of scandals and setbacks, including the leaking of data on some 87 million users to Cambridge Analytica, a data firm that was linked with President Donald Trump.