Facebook announced a series of new features and revamped privacy features at its annual F8 developer's conference in San Jose, California on Tuesday. While additional safeguards following the Cambridge Analytica data-mining scandal were to be expected, the social network announced a foray into an unexpected frontier: online dating.
Mark Zuckerberg's conglomerate is aiming to scrap with Tinder and Bumble with a new feature built-in to the original Facebook app. The yet-to-be-named dating side of Facebook will have users create dating profiles separate from their existing network of friends, so they can ostensibly meet people who aren't their co-workers and families. According to Zuckerberg, it'll be strictly used for "serious" dating, as opposed to hook-ups, because Facebook is all about building lasting relationships, apparently.
The company explained the new feature in a blog post: "People already use Facebook to meet new people, and we want to make that experience better. People will be able to create a dating profile that is separate from their Facebook profile -- and potential matches will be recommended based on dating preferences, things in common, and mutual friends."
Apart from that, the company claims users will have the opportunity to meet people based off mutual group memberships and attending the same events. Dating profile information will be kept private from the rest of a user's friends, so no need to worry about your romantic exploits being seen by the wrong eyes.
Facebook's venture into online dating makes sense on a number of levels. The social network has long been a voyeuristic playground for anyone with a crush, and dating app companies like Tinder and Bumble have each seen their valuations crest over a billion dollars in recent years. Besides, as Facebook's user base gradually becomes overrun with baby boomers, it'd make sense to at least experiment with a dating gambit.
For what it's worth, Match Group, the parent company of Match.com, OkCupid, and Tinder, saw its shares slide more than 20% after Facebook's dating announcement. The day marked Match Group's worst as a public traded company, all precipitated by Zuckerberg's announcement.
Facebook hasn't unveiled it's dating feature yet, but notes that it'll be testing it later this year.