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Photo: Facebook

Facebook debuted Facebook Dating in the U.S. on Thursday after offering it for less than a year in some other countries. The company is also finally integrating the dating service with Instagram.

Why it matters: Facebook has 2.4 billion users around the world and is hoping a dating service will keep them around longer.

Between the lines: American millennials — arguably the group most coveted by dating apps — have increasingly shifted their time to Instagram over Facebook’s flagship app, and many already use it organically to contact or get noticed by potential mates. In other words, it’s already millennial consumers' de facto online dating app.

Details: Instagram’s role in Facebook’s dating service will be limited for now to a “secret crush” feature and letting users link select photos from the app to their dating profiles (a feature rivals like Tinder and Bumble already offer).

  • Users can now declare a "secret crush" on Instagram followers as well as Facebook friends and be notified if there's a mutual match. That only works, of course, with followers and friends who are also signed up for Facebook’s dating product (and therefore have a Facebook account too).
  • Later this year, the company will add the ability for users to embed their Instagram and Facebook Stories into their profile.
  • Asked why the Instagram integration is so limited, product manager Nathan Sharp told Axios that the company is focused on creating a dating service for folks who want to find romantic relationships, adding that it has to take a global approach instead of being focused on one country.

Facebook is also hoping to get some points from users for safety-related features, such as a recently added ability to share the location of your date with close Facebook friends as a precaution.

  • If users choose to embed some of their Instagram photos into their dating profile, Facebook will hide their usernames to prevent other users from finding them on the photo-sharing app.
  • It also lets users block others and opt out of being matched with friends of friends, and says it has specially trained community support teams dedicated to its dating service.

What we don’t know: How Facebook suggests potential matches to its online daters.

  • All dating apps and websites use information provided by users, from their location to their likes and dislikes, to suggest potential matches. However, Facebook potentially has more user data at its disposal than anyone else because it's been accumulating it from its users, often for years.
  • Sharp told Axios that Facebook suggests and ranks potential matches based on mutualities, using data from a user's dating profile and Facebook account, but declined to provide more detail.
  • The company also declined to share data about how the product has been faring in countries where it's already available.

Our take: Tinder, Bumble, and others likely don't have to worry too much about Facebook's dating service. But Facebook still has 244 million monthly active users across its apps in the U.S. and Canada, some of whom are already using those services to find potential mates.

Go deeper: Facebook wants to be your matchmaker

Go deeper

25 mins ago - Health

Understanding the unvaccinated

Expand chart
Data: Axios-Ipsos Poll; Chart: Sara Wise/Axios

The most hardcore opponents of coronavirus vaccination — the group who say they'll never get one — tend to be older, whiter and more Republican than the unvaccinated Americans who are still persuadable, according to an analysis of our Axios/Ipsos Coronavirus Index.

Why it matters: As the Delta variant triggers more COVID-19 hospitalizations and deaths, mostly among the unvaccinated, the Biden administration and even some high-profile GOP political and media figures are trying to figure out how to nudge the country's vaccination rate higher.

Female Olympians push back against double standard in uniforms

Pauline Schaefer-Betz of Team Germany competes on balance beam during Women's Qualification on day two of the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games. Photo: Laurence Griffiths/Getty Images

Female Olympians in Tokyo are rejecting the uniforms that have long defined their sports, highlighting a double standard that exists how women dress in competition vs. men.

Driving the news: During their qualifying round Sunday, Germany's women's gymnastics team wore full-length unitards, eschewing the conventional leg-barring leotards worn by most female gymnasts.

Updated 1 hour ago - Sports

Olympics dashboard

Team USA's Simone Biles during the women's team final on day four of the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games at Ariake Gymnastics Centre on Tuesday in Japan. Photo: Fred Lee/Getty Images

🤸🏾‍♀️: Simone Biles withdraws from all-around gymnastics final — hours after pulling out of team finals, citing her mental health

🏊‍♀️: Katie Ledecky wins gold in first women's 1500m freestyle

🎾: "This one sucks more than the others," Naomi Osaka says on upset loss

⚽️: USA women's soccer ties Australia, propelling them to the quarterfinals

👟: World Athletics president supports reviewing marijuana rules in doping

Go deeper: Full Axios coverage - Medal tracker