Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg gave the keynote address at the F8 developer conference in San Jose on Tuesday, introducing, among other innovations, the company’s new dating features.
“We are announcing a new set of features coming soon around dating,” Zuckerberg told conference attendees, lamenting that his company has been late to the dating game.
“This is going to be for building real, long-term relationships, not just hookups,” he declared.
Zuckerberg didn’t explain how he plans to prevent “hookups,” but he did say that the dating service will be “opt-in” and “if you want you can make a dating profile.”
What could go wrong?
"Swipe right to look at user's personal data…"
— Matt Margolis 🇺🇸 (@mattmargolis) May 1, 2018
This way Facebook can know the type of condoms people use and use the data to advertise condoms
— Cyrus S (@CyrusShares) May 1, 2018
“We have designed this with privacy and safety in mind from the beginning,” he assured conference attendees. “We’re excited to start rolling this out soon.” He assured users that no one will see their information without express permission. Instead, he said, Facebook will suggest possible dating prospects.
“We’re building things to bring people together,” the Facebook CEO said at the conclusion of his speech.
“If you believe like I do that giving people a voice is important, that bringing people together is important… then I say this: We will keep building,” he vowed.
“Yes, this is an important moment,” he said. “We need to do more to keep people safe, and we will,” but he added that Facebook’s primary goal is to “bring people together.”
In response to Zuckerberg’s announcement, shares in online dating stocks plummeted on Tuesday. It was the Match Group’s worst drop since November 2016.
According to Nasdaq.com, the Match Group encompasses 45 branded sites including Match, OKCupid, and Tinder. The combined sites have 4.7 million paid members, with Match controlling nearly a quarter of the market share for online dating services. eHarmony is the next largest with 11.9 percent of the market.
While Facebook likely won’t charge for their dating services, users will certainly “pay” by revealing even more of their personal data.
Facebook hopes to give other online dating powerhouses a run for their money, but it remains to be seen if they can regain the trust they’ve squandered in recent months with revelations of data breaches and accusations that the company is listening to users in their homes. In addition, there are ongoing concerns about suppression of conservative speech as the company tries to weed out fake news. There is mounting pressure on the federal government to regulate of the social media giant, which could take a bite out of their market share.
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