Facebook is not new to the world of online dating as their in-app Facebook Dating has been expanding to more countries of late. But it looks like they’re dipping their toes once again as they’re now experimenting with video speed-dating. Sparked is the app they’re testing and it comes from the NPE Team, the in-house group that creates and tests out experimental apps. It doesn’t seem to be widely open to whoever wants to join as you will be waitlisted if you try to sign up.
Sparked is described as “video dating with kind people” and you’re supposed to follow the same rules of speed dating, except that it’s online. You will go on four-minute dates with different people but if both hit it off, you will then be scheduled for a 10-minute second date. After that, you can already exchange your own way of communicating, whether through your personal numbers or through Instagram, Messenger, or email.
The Sparked website seems to be live at the moment but when one attempts to sign up, you’ll get a notice that you’re still on the waitlist. But it’s interesting to see from the screenshots of the sign up process that kindness is a surprising but pretty important “requirement” for being accepted into the app. You have to answer what makes you a “kind dater” and responses will supposedly be reviewed by an actual person over at Sparked. You will also be able to choose whether you want to date men, women, nonbinary or if you’re open to dating trans people.
The Verge says that a Facebook spokesperson confirms that Sparked really does exist but it’s still in the “early experiment” stage. It’s only available for a small group of beta testers, hence the waitlist when someone tries to sign up. There seems to be an upcoming event in Chicago in which 47 people have supposedly signed up so this is probably one of those tests that they’re doing. It’s still unclear how or where people are supposed to go on that video speed date, whether it’s a web log in or an app that they’ll have to download.
There are already several video speed-dating apps or features within existing dating apps like Hinge, Tinder, and Bumble. Let’s see how well the beta test will go and if we’ll actually see Sparked in the market.