Black Mirror S04 E04 ‘Hang DJ’. Remember? It’s like Tinder meets on a quick date in a perfectly poignant depiction of modern romance. The protagonists are given a certain amount of time to make their relationship last, after which they are assigned a second partner as time goes on.
Now Facebook is testing a similar product called “Sparked”, except for virtual dates – something you can do from the comfort of your sofa, instead of meeting in person– and there is no intimidating algorithm that imposes relationships on people.
How the Sparked dating app works
According to The Verge, which first noticed the app’s website, the video app will seemingly get people going through fast video dates that last four minutes. The number of video dates per event is still unclear, but the app will schedule a 10-minute second meeting if “you both have a nice time”.
Unlike other giant meeting apps like Tinder, Sparked users don’t have a public profile, nor do they go over people they like and privately message others. However, after another successful date, users can share contact information and stay in touch via other social networks.
For those unaware, quick dates are an organized social activity in which people seeking romantic relationships have a series of short conversations with potential partners to determine if there is mutual interest.
Currently used in a small beta test
The app, developed by the Facebook New Product Experimentation Team (NPE), needs a Facebook profile to create an account. Sparked is free to use and requires participants to agree to be kind, treating the platform as a safe space and to show up on dates.
In addition, the registration process requires users to enter their age, gender, entertainment preferences, zip code, and some answers like how they show kindness. The app says these answers will be “reviewed by a man in Sparked” before people can move on to quick dates.
Sparked is currently in a “small, external beta test”, but the app has not yet been released in the App Store or Google Play Store– only the website is available.
It is important to note that Facebook already offers a dating product called Facebook Dating in the app in more than 40 countries – but not yet in India.
The concept of video dating flourished during the pandemic and became commonplace when people locked themselves in their homes and restricted interactions between people. Popular Tinder and Bumble meeting apps also offer people video chat options with matches.