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Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg introduces a new feature designed to get you out of the friend zone.
Trust Facebook with your data? How about with your love life?
That’s what the company is hoping for.
After discussing how Facebook is going to improve its handling of users’ privacy and security, CEO Mark Zuckerberg revealed at Facebook’s annual F8 developer conference that the company is adding a dating feature to its mobile app.
Facebook has long allowed users to reveal their relationship status on their profile page, but this new feature will go a step further.
“This is going to be for building real long-term relationships, not just hookups,” Zuckerberg said. The service will require users to actively opt into it, Zuckerberg says, noting that your Facebook friends won’t see your dating profile.
Once you’ve signed up, you’ll only be suggested people who “are not your friends who have opted into dating who fit your preferences.”
Shares of Match Group (MTCH), the owner of Tinder, Match.com and OkCupid, which dominate the online dating market in the U.S., plummeted on the news, ending down 22% at $36.71. Some 27% of single smartphone owners use a dating app, eMarketer estimates. Tinder has been introducing paid services.
Needless to say, neither the Match Group or parent company IAC were too welcoming of Facebook.
“Come on in. The water’s warm,” said IAC CEO Joey Levin in a statement. “Their product could be great for US/Russia relationships.”
IAC (IAC) owned over 80% of the Match Group as of December 31, 2017. Shares ended Tuesday down nearly 18%.
“We’re surprised at the timing given the amount of personal and sensitive data that comes with this territory,” added Match Group CEO Mandy Ginsberg, alluding to Facebook’s recent privacy scandals. “We understand this category better than anyone. Facebook’s entry will only be invigorating to all of us.”
The new dating feature asks Facebook’s users to trust the social network with yet more of their personal data — confidence that was severely dented after revelations that lax Facebook data policies enabled a political ad targeting firm to obtain data on 87 million users without their consent. During his F8 keynote, Zuckerberg vowed “to do more to keep people safe.”
Facebook says it will utilize dating preferences, things in common and mutual friends for matching people together, showing the profiles of those who have opened themselves to dating only to other members who are using the feature.
Those who are in the same group or attending the same event will be able to see other members in those groups or events who have opened themselves to dating. People who match will be able to chat in a private messaging section that will be separate from the regular Messenger app.
Facebook did not give a timetable for when the Dating feature would launch but promised to provide more information when it begins testing the service “later this year.”
A link has been posted to your Facebook feed.
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Follow Eli Blumenthal on Twitter @eliblumenthal