Facebook is not new to the world of online dating as its in-app Facebook Dating has expanded to more countries in recent times. But it seems they are sinking their toes once again as they are now experimenting with speed video dating. Sparked is the app they are testing and it comes from the NPE team, the internal group that creates and tests experimental apps. He doesn’t seem very open to whoever wants to join as he will be on the waiting list if he tries to sign up.
Sparked is described as “video dating with nice people” and you are supposed to follow the same rules of speed dating, except that it is online. You will have four-minute dates with different people, but if the two of you get along, a second 10-minute date will be scheduled for you. After that, you can already exchange your own way of communicating, either through your personal numbers or through Instagram, Messenger or email.
The Sparked website appears to be active at the moment, but when one tries to register, they will receive a notice that they are still on the waiting list. But it is interesting to see from the screenshots of the registration process that friendliness is a surprising but quite important “requirement” to be accepted in the application. You have to answer what makes you a “good dating man” and the answers will supposedly be reviewed by a real person on Sparked. You can also choose if you want to date men, women, non-binaries or if you are open to dating trans people.
The Verge says that a Facebook spokesperson confirms that Sparked actually exists, but is still in the “early experiment” stage. It’s only available to a small group of beta testers, hence the waiting list when someone tries to sign up. It looks like there will be an upcoming event in Chicago where 47 people have supposedly signed up, so this is probably one of those tests that they are doing. It’s still unclear how or where people are supposed to go on that video speed date, be it a web login or an app they’ll have to download.
Several speed dating apps or video features already exist within existing dating apps like Hinge, Tinder, and Bumble. Let’s see how well the beta test will go and if we will actually see Sparked on the market.