Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg has unveiled plans for the social media giant to enter the match-making market with a new dating service aimed at building “meaningful relationships”.
After a volley of scandals haunting Facebook about the mishandling of personal information and alleged election manipulation, trust building was front and centre of Zuckerberg’s keynote speech at the annual Facebook developers conference F8 on Tuesday. But it was the revelation about the planned dating services that really pricked up ears.
“There are 200 million people on Facebook who list themselves as single, so clearly there is something to do here,” Zuckerberg said.
"We are announcing a new set of features coming soon around dating. Now this is going to be for building real long-term relationships, not just hookups," he added.
The features will be available via the app but requires users to opt in. “We have designed this with privacy and safety in mind from the beginning,” Zuckerberg stressed, keenly aware that the tech giant cannot afford another data scandal. When a user opts in and builds a profile the suggested matches will only be from outside their friends network. Friends will also not be able to see each other via the dating feature.
There was no launch date announced but the feature will be available “soon” as Facebook looks to augment its position as fostering personal relationships across the board.
The announcement shaved 23% off the share price of Match Group, which owns popular dating apps Tinder and OkCupid, according to Reuters. Shares at IAC, Match Group's parent company, fell by 15%.