Bumble, the popular dating app has willingly entered a new territory — the friend zone.
Rather than swiping to find potential partners, the new feature helps users who want friends (with no benefits).
The app's users now have the option to choose if they are looking specifically for romantic prospects, platonic pals or both. No details have been released about the specific algorithmic differences between matching for dates and matching for BFFs yet.
The company said it is paying "very close attention to interests and friends," found from a user's Facebook profile, according to Digital Trends.
Finding friends works the same way as finding a date on the app. Users can swipe right on the people they are interested in and if there's a match, the two can start chatting. If no message is exchanged within 24 hours, the connection disappears from both users' messages.
Positive reaction on Twitter
With 1.5 million users added since January and 100 million messages exchanged in the last three months, the move has been called "daring" for an app that's already doing so well.
Forbes reported that online dating has increased by approximately 36 per cent in only two years and that millennials are making more use of online dating services.
This same demographic is the only group in a recent Pew Research Centre survey that preferred mobile apps over online dating sites despite using online dating sites more than any other age group. Eighty per cent of the respondents said online dating is a good way to meet people.
"It's a norm amongst men and women that it's hard to find people outside of your pre-existing friendship groups," Bumble founder and CEO Whitney Wolfe said Monday on CBS This Morning. "It's almost easier to find a date than it is to find a friend."
Wolfe said Bumble has already seen a 40 per cent increase in the number of new users downloading the app in the App Store and Google Play within hours of the new BFF feature going live.