Facebook is launching a new dating app on the social media platform, its CEO, Mark Zuckerberg, announced on 1 May. The announcement came at an annual developer conference, where Zuckerberg unveiled a feature designed to compete with popular services like Tinder.
Speaking in front of a packed crowd in San Jose, Zuckerberg described the new dating feature as a tool to build “real long-term relationships – not just hookups”.
“We want Facebook to be somewhere where you can start meaningful relationships,” he continued. “We’ve designed this with privacy and safety in mind from the beginning.”
The announcement sparked gasps from the crowd and seemed to attract the most interest from the audience during Zuckerberg’s short speech. The speech focused on the company’s widening privacy scandal, new safeguards meant to protect users’ data and misinformation and fake news on the site.
Chris Cox, the chief product officer, said the dating feature would be “opt-in” and “safe” and that the company “took advantage of the unique properties of the platform”.
Soon after the announcement, Mandy Ginsberg, the CEO of Match Group, which owns Tinder, threw shade at Facebook, saying in a statement: “We’re surprised at the timing given the amount of personal and sensitive data that comes with this territory.”
Cox showed a user’s hypothetical dating profile, which he said would be separate from an individual’s regular profile, accessed in a different section of the site.
The dating feature would use only a first name and only be visible to those using the service, not an individual’s Facebook friends. The feature would not show up in the news feed, he added.