A new report claims that Facebook is testing out a new feature that appears to be very similar with Tinder. The new Facebook feature encourages users to meet up with their friends in real life, but only if both parties agree to do so.

The new Facebook feature was first discovered by Motherboard reporter Jacob Dubé. He claims that while he was using Facebook, a notification popped up saying “[Name redacted] and 15 others may want to meet up with you this week.”

When Dubé opened the notification, it showed him a page with photos of his Facebook friends. The page also asked him a question: “Want to meet up with [name redacted] this week?” Facebook told him that his response would be private unless both of them agree to meet up.

The new Facebook feature seems to be in beta. Dubé claims that it was only available to him and some of his friends in Canada. The new feature appears to be only available to a small number of users in Toronto and New Zealand. However, none of Dubé’s co-workers were able to access the new feature.

“People often use Facebook to make plans with their friends,” a Facebook spokesperson told Motherboard via 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 new feature is already being likened to dating apps, specifically Tinder. The major difference here is that Facebook only wants users to meet up with people they already know or could have already interacted with on Messenger.

Another thing that’s different is that it doesn’t only show potential romantic interests, as pointed out by The Verge. Some of Facebook's suggestions were just friends. Perhaps the company is simply experimenting with new ways to encourage people to meet up with their friends in real life.

However, with Facebook copying Snapchat, it doesn’t seem too farfetched that the company would try to copy dating apps. It’s also taking on YouTube when it recently launched its own dedicated page for watching original video content.

It does seem to make sense if Facebook is trying to take on other dating services. The company already has 2 billion monthly active users (as of June 30, 2017) and there’s certainly room to add a feature to help those users meet up. Even if this is rolled out initially as a new way to meet friends IRL, it would certainly be easy for Facebook to transform it into a dating feature in the future.

In related news, TechCrunch reports that Facebook is also currently rolling out a new feature to help users meet new friends. A button will appear telling users to “get to know [name’s] friends.” Tapping on the button will bring up a window showing a list of second degree friends.

Previously, the only way for Facebook users to find new people was through a list of mutual friends. However, this new feature also lists down things that they have in common, like pages they've both liked or places or events they’ve both attended. It wasn’t really made clear when this new feature will arrive to everyone on Facebook, but users should keep an eye out as it appears to be on its way.


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