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Match Group responds to Facebook’s new dating feature with Russia and privacy insults

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Amelia Holowaty Krales / The Verge

If you haven’t heard, Facebook is getting into the dating app scene. It will soon let users opt into an experience resembling Tinder that lets them browse other profiles with photos and first names. Dating app executives took the opportunity to chide Facebook for its tattered history of data privacy practices and for allowing Russia to meddle in US elections.

Joey Levin is the CEO of IAC, the company that owns a majority stake in Match Group (which in turn owns Tinder, OkCupid, Match, and PlentyofFish). He responded to the news with a very direct taunt: “Come on in. The water’s warm. Their product could be great for US / Russia relationships.”

Match Group CEO Mandy Ginsberg gave a more measured response, though it was laced with a direct reference to Facebook’s Cambridge Analytica data breach fiasco: “We’re flattered that Facebook is coming into our space — and sees the global opportunity that we do — as Tinder continues to skyrocket. We’re surprised at the timing given the amount of personal and sensitive data that comes with this territory.”

Ginsberg continued, “Regardless, we’re going to continue to delight our users through product innovation and relentless focus on relationship success. We understand this category better than anyone. Facebook’s entry will only be invigorating to all of us.” In other words, they’re trying to claim they don’t view Facebook as a threat, but a stimulant to adding better product features.

Still, the announcement coming out of Facebook’s annual developers’ conference today caused Match’s stock price to plunge more than 20 percent to $36.71 during trading hours, as of this writing.