Social media giant Facebook is reportedly testing a new video speed-dating app dubbed Sparked. Unlike other prominent dating apps like Tinder, this app does not involve swiping on people they like or direct messaging others. Instead, the users cycle through a series of short video dates during an event to make connections with others. The app is reportedly being developed by the internal R&D group of Facebook, the NPE Team.
A spokesperson from NPE Team stated that Sparked is an early experiment by the team and that they are exploring the ways in which video-first speed dating can help people in finding love online.
According to credible sources, the app is undergoing an external beta test which will obtain insights regarding how video dating could work towards improving users’ experiences with Facebook products. At present, the app is not live on app stores but only the web.
Elaborating on the app, at the time of the sign-up process it tells users to be kind, keep this a safe space and show up. After that a walkthrough of the workings of the app explains that users will meet face to face during a series of four-minute long video dates. If all goes well, the users can then follow up with a 10-minute date. They can also exchange contact information such as emails, phone numbers or Instagram handles.
During the earlier pandemic period, Facebook had announced its plans to launch a virtual dating experience which leveraged Messenger for video chats. This move apparently came at a time when various dating apps available in the market also decided to offer video chat to serve users during lockdowns.
Facebook reportedly faces a tough competition in the field of dating. This is apparent from the strong performance of the major dating apps such as Bumble and Match Group even during the pandemic. According to Match Group, direct revenues rose 18% YoY to $1.4 billion in 2020 from Tinder and 16% collectively from its non-Tinder brands. Meanwhile, Bumble also generated $165.6 million in its fourth quarter.