Facebook is trying out a new feature that connects users on its Messenger chat platform, but only if they both accept. It looks a lot like Tinder, except it only appears to be connecting people who are already friends with each other.
While using Facebook on my phone Wednesday night, I was greeted by a notification that said "[Name redacted] and 15 others may want to meet up with you this week."
When I opened the link, I was taken to a page with photos of my Facebook friends and a question: "Want to meet up with [name redacted] this week?" It indicated that my response would be private unless we both said yes. Tap "No Thanks," and that's the end of it.
The feature seems to be in beta, and, though it is currently available to me and a few of my friends in Canada, the rest of Motherboard was unable to access it. It's unclear what the feature might be called.
"People often use Facebook to make plans with their friends," a Facebook spokesperson told Motherboard in an email. "So, we're running a very small test in the Facebook app to make that easier. We look forward to hearing people's feedback." The test is limited to a small number of users in parts of Toronto and New Zealand, on iOS and Android.
It's not hard to see the similarity between the feature and dating apps like Tinder or Bumble, but the Facebook feature seems to connect you only to people you already know, and could have already reached on the Messenger app.
The feature didn't just show me potential love interests, however. It also displayed some of my friends, indicating that it might be used to encourage people who are already friends on Facebook to hang out IRL.
Facebook has recently rolled out several new features that resemble ones on other social media apps, like Stories, which originally became popular on Snapchat. It has also recently tweaked its video capabilities to make livestreaming and GIF creating easier.
The Tinder-like feature might look like a strange addition to Facebook, but on the other hand, telling your friend that an AI told you two that you should hang out is a pretty good icebreaker.
Update: This story has been updated with comment from Facebook. A spokesperson clarified that this is not part of the Messenger platform, and the original headline has also been updated to reflect this.
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