Facebook has started testing its new dating service

CEO Mark Zuckerberg

After they send a question or comment, users are allowed to move on to the next suggested match.

It should help prevent the kinds of mindless swiping that’s become characteristic of other online dating platforms.

Before users can begin perusing profiles, they have to opt into Facebook Dating, which is located within the core Facebook app, not in a standalone application.

Before users can begin perusing profiles, they have to opt into Facebook Dating, which is located within the core Facebook app, not in a standalone application

Before users can begin perusing profiles, they have to opt into Facebook Dating, which is located within the core Facebook app, not in a standalone application

Users create a new profile that’s separate from their main Facebook account.

They then fill out basic information about themselves, such as age, occupation, education, gender, religion and sexual orientation – of which users are also given non-binary options.

Facebook automatically fills in other information like your age, location and first name.

Users can upload up to 12 photos on their profile and respond to as many as 20 questions, such as ‘What does your perfect day look like?’

Facebook Dating will serve up profiles for matches that are within 100 kilometers of the user and aren’t already their friend on Facebook.

Facebook has linked its Groups and Events sections with Dating so that users can find even more prospective matches. Users can opt to show their Dating profile to people in a Group

Facebook has linked its Groups and Events sections with Dating so that users can find even more prospective matches. Users can opt to show their Dating profile to people in a Group

Once you message someone on Facebook Dating, you can't view their profile or send them repeated messages if they don't respond. It should cut down on harassment and stalking

In doing so, the firm is encouraging users to branch out from people they already know. They may still be shown profiles for users that friends with a Facebook friend.

The conversational parts of Facebook Dating are also different from other apps.

Once you message someone, you can’t view their profile or send them repeated messages if they don’t respond.

This feature should cut down on stalking and harassment on the service, as users are unable to lash out when someone rebuffs their advance.

Facebook also doesn’t allow users to send photos in messages, which should prevent anyone from sending an unwanted or, at times, inappropriate picture.

What’s more, Facebook has linked its Groups and Events sections with Dating so that users can find even more prospective matches.

CEO Mark Zuckerberg first teased the new service at Facebook's F8 developer conference in May as a way for its billions of users to build 'meaningful relationships' on the platform

CEO Mark Zuckerberg first teased the new service at Facebook’s F8 developer conference in May as a way for its billions of users to build ‘meaningful relationships’ on the platform

For example, if a user is part of a group for local meetups, they can opt to show their Dating profile to people in that group.

That feature is also enabled for upcoming and past events, so that if you have a missed connection, it’s not too late.

If the service takes off in Colombia, it’s possible that the company could expand Facebook Dating globally.

For now though, users outside Colombia will have to wait to meet their match on Facebook.

HOW CAN YOU CHECK IF YOU ARE BEING CATFISHED?

Dating apps and online websites are plagued with fraudulent profiles, known as ‘catfishes’.

‘Catfishing’ originated as a term for the process of luring people into false relationships, however, it has also come to encompass people giving out false information about themselves more generally.

These profiles often use images of another person to allow users to pretend to be someone else in order to get a date, or scam money from a lonelyheart.

Fortunately, there are certain ways to check if these profiles are real people or if they are bogus accounts —

1. Google reverse image search

This is probably the most valuable tool for catching out a catfish and can be done via Google.

To kickstart the process, people need only right-click the photos that are arousing their suspcions, copy the URL and paste it into images.google.com.

The search engine will search to see if the image has been used elsewhere.

If you find the picture associated with a different person to the one you’re speaking to on your dating app, it’s likely you’ve met a catfish!

2. Use an app called Veracity 

It is useful for dating sites such as Tinder, Bumble and Grindr as it allows images from Dropbox or Camera roll (or similar) to be cross-referenced against any matching results.

Load the app, then select a screenshot of the suspicious dating app profile from your camera roll to launch the search.

The app will tell you if the picture belongs to somebody else.

3. Check their Facebook 

Almost everyone who has a profile on a dating site will have a Facebook account (most dating apps require users to have one, after all!) so it is always advisable to track down your potential suitor on other forms of social media.

4. Google them

Google and other search engines have an extensive repertoire and most people will crop up in a search.

In this day and age, it’s unusual for someone to have nothing on Google.

Have a search through for them or their relatives, things they’ve said or posted in the past. If there’s nothing, that should raise alarm bells.

5. Skype/Facetime/Video Chat 

For prospective romantic engagements, seeing the face of someone you are virtually talking to is essential.

6.  Money

Anyone that asks for money online or via an app is likely to be a fraud.

This is probably a scam and should provide immediate red flags.