Facebook is dipping its toes further into the world of dating. The company's New Product Experimentation (NPE) Team, which creates experimental apps, has released a video speed-dating app called Sparked.
It sounds a little like both Chatroulette and the video chat features that major dating apps have added since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic. You'll go on a rapid-fire series of four-minute dates and, if you and the other person enjoy your time together, you can go on a 10-minute second date. At that point, you'll need to exchange contact details if you want to stay in touch.
According to Sparked's website, which The Verge spotted, the free app has no public profiles, direct messages or Tinder-style swiping, though you do need to have a Facebook profile. There's no iOS or Google Play Sparked app yet. It's browser-based, at least for now.
Sparked appears to place an emphasis on kindness. During the signup process, you'll be asked to keep Sparked a safe space and you'll need to explain "what makes you a kind dater." Someone working on Sparked will review your response before you're allowed to start going on dates. You'll also be asked whether you want to date men, women or nonbinary people. Once you have access, Sparked will show you speed dating events that are relevant to you.
The launch of Sparked follows the rollout of Facebook Dating, which is part of the social network's main app. The feature arrived in the US in 2019 and Facebook has brought it to dozens of other markets since then. Whether Sparked sticks around quite as long remains to be seen, as Facebook has a history of killing NPE Team apps that don't gain much traction.