In a bid to take on mobile dating apps like Tinder and Bumble, Facebook has begun testing its dating project internally with employees. According to a report in The Verge on Friday, an independent app researcher, Jane Manchun Wong found evidence of the dating feature testing and posted it on Twitter.
"This product is for US Facebook employees who have opted-in to dogfooding Facebook's new dating product. The purpose for this dogfooding is to test the end-to-end product experience for bugs and confusing UI (user interface). This is not meant for dating your co-workers," read a screenshot.
Facebook has asked employees to use fake data for their dating profiles and plans to delete all data before the public launch, said the report. "Dogfooding this product is completely voluntary and has no impact on your employment," the screenshot further read, adding that the product is confidential.
The social media giant later confirmed the dating product is in testing within the main Facebook app but declined to comment further.
Facebook had announced Facebook Dating -- which will not be a standalone dating app -- during its F8 developer conference in the US in May. "This is going to be for building real, long-term relationships and not just for hookups," Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg said during his keynote.
"We have designed this with privacy and safety in mind from the beginning. Your friends aren't going to see your profile, and you're only going to be suggested to people who are not your friends," he added.
Facebook Product Chief Chris Cox showed a design of the dating project to the audience. A feature called "unlocking" will let any user of Facebook's dating platform make his or her profile visible to other attendees of events or members of groups. There was no word on when the service would launch for the public, but the testing hints that Facebook may be looking to roll out the service by the end of the year.
Detailing the platform in a blog post, Facebook said that while the dating service would remain part of the main Facebook app, it would be hidden from a user's Facebook profile. The service would show a user matches based on dating preferences, things in common, and mutual friends.