Facebook To Launch Online Dating Service

Facebook is to launch an online dating service, CEO Mark Zuckerberg has revealed on Tuesday at the company’s annual F8 conference.

Zuckerberg and co have been considering a dating service for over a decade and it will apparently launch soon on the platform.

The development could trigger fresh privacy concerns for the social networking giant, which had already been rocked by the Cambridge Analytica data sharing scandal.

Playing cupid

Over the years Facebook has been accused of wrecking marriages after former partners reconnected on the platform. But it seems that the new dating service is intended as a way to get people to spend more time on the platform.

And Zuckerberg clearly thinks he can offer a service for all the singletons using the platform.

“There are 200 million people on Facebook that list themselves as single, so clearly there’s something to do here,” Zuckerberg is quoted by Reuters as telling software developers at the F8 conference.

Of course, it should be remembered that Facebook users have been able to reveal their relationship status since the network first went live in February 2004.

And to address the privacy implications, Zuckerberg reportedly said Facebook was building the dating service with an emphasis on privacy.

The arrival of Facebook on the online dating scene could potentially create problems for some of the biggest providers of online dating services.

Match Group for example owns the popular mobile dating app Tinder and OkCupid, and news of Facebook’s intentions sent its share price tumbling, with its shares closing down more than 22 percent on Tuesday.

Tinder worrier?

Facebook displayed a prototype of the dating service at the F8 conference, which showed a heart shape at the top-right corner of the Facebook app.

Pressing on it will take people to their dating profile if they have set one up.

The dating service will recommend potential matches based on dating preferences, things in common and mutual friends, Facebook said in a statement.

The prototype did not appear to have a feature to “swipe” left or right on potential matches to signal interest, as Tinder and other established services have. But there were two buttons for “pass” and “interested.”

The optional feature will be for finding long-term relationships, “not just hook-ups,” Zuckerberg reportedly said. It will be launched soon, he added, without giving a specific date.

Quiz: Think you know all about Facebook?

Tom Jowitt @TJowitt

Tom Jowitt is a leading British tech freelance and long standing contributor to TechWeek Europe

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