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May 2, 2018

Facebook takes aim at Tinder and Bumble with its own dating service

by John_A

Facebook

When Mark Zuckerberg took the stage this week at Facebook’s F8 developer conference to discuss the future of Facebook and its related properties — including Instagram — one of the first new features he announced was something of a surprise. Facebook is going to get into the dating game.

“We’re building a feature for dating and relationships within the Facebook app. People already use Facebook to meet new people, and we want to make that experience better,” Facebook said in an announcement. “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.”

It’s a move that Zuckerberg justifies by claiming that one in three marriages in the U.S. begins online, and by citing the number of people who come up to him on the street, gesture to their children, and thank him personally. He even goes on to dig at popular dating app Tinder, by saying the Facebook dating service is designed for “relationships” instead of “hookups.” Its actual use in practice, Zuckerberg neglects to mention, will be up to its users.

The dating service functionality will reportedly go into testing later this year, so details are sparse beyond what Zuckerberg teased at the F8 keynote.

“They’ll have the option to discover others with similar interests through their Groups or Events. However, what people do within the dating feature will not be shown to their friends. We’ll share more information when this begins testing later this year,” the announcement continues.

That means you’ll at least have some amount of privacy on your dating profile, but it begs the question of why users wouldn’t just continue using apps like Tinder, which already use Facebook data to fill out your profile.

The announcement comes on the heels of Bumble’s high-profile departure from Facebook, as the dating service removed its previous Facebook profile requirement after some users cited issues with the direction Facebook has been heading lately.

“The reason behind this improvement is due to the overwhelming request from prospective users who are not too fond of Facebook and, because of this, refused to give online dating a try,” a Bumble PR representative told Ars Technica.


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