Facebook’s New Product Experimentation (NPE) team is often quick to dump apps that aren’t finding traction, and the video-dating service it’s tested for the past nine months is next in line for the hacking ban. The company told Sparked users that the trial will close on January 20.
“We started building Sparked in late 2020 to help people find love through an experience rooted in kindness. Since then, with regular input and feedback from you, we have improved what we can, learned a lot, and established connections between people,” Facebook wrote in the post mail, which Take Crunch It was received. “Like many good ideas, some take off and some, like Sparked, have to come to an end.”
Users will be able to download their data before January 20th. After this date, Facebook will erase their Sparked accounts.
Sparked has been a mixture of Chatroulette, video chats that other dating apps have introduced over the past few years and a speed dating event. At a predetermined time, users from a certain region or demographic will participate in dating events (there were a few global events as well). They will have four minutes to chat with a potential match, and if they both want to spend more time with each other, they can set up a second 10-minute date and/or exchange contact details.
Although users needed a Facebook account to use Sparked, the service stood out from both Facebook and Facebook Dating. It didn’t have public profiles, messages, or matching features, like swiping on Tinder.
Facebook initially described Sparked as a small beta test for video dating recognition, so it probably wasn’t really intended for the service to explode in popularity. Both Sparked and Facebook Dating added voice chat features last year.
Sparked joins a long list of NPE projects that Facebook has shut down, including hobbyist-style Pinterest app Hobbi, TikTok clone Lasso and selfie app MSQRD. There are still a few NPE apps on the App Store in the US: a TikTok-esque rapper app called BARS, a couples app called Tuned and music video collaborative app Collab. Facebook said this week that Collab will also close on March 12.
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