Facebook is taking on Tinder with new dating features

Facebook is adding a dating layer to its main mobile app, CEO Mark Zuckerberg announced today during the company’s F8 developer conference keynote in San Jose, California. The features are a long time coming for the 14-year-old social network, which has allowed users to broadcast whether they’re single or in a relationship since it first went live in February 2004.

The move will likely transform Facebook, with its more than 2.2 billion monthly active users, into a major competitor of Match Group, which owns and operates mobile dating app Tinder and popular dating platform OkCupid. Match Group’s stock plummeted by more than 17 percent as soon as the news was announced.

“This is going to be for building real, long-term relationships — not just for hookups,” Zuckerberg joked onstage. He added that it’s going to be within the main Facebook app, but it will be completely optional and opt-in only. “We have designed this with privacy and safety in mind from the beginning. Your friends aren’t going to see your profile, and you’re only going to be suggested to people who are not your friends.”

Facebook product chief Chris Cox took the stage after Zuckerberg to shed more light on the new dating features and to give the audience a tour of the design. The profiles look similar to other mobile-focused dating apps like Tinder and Bumble, with full-page profile photos. However, Facebook’s take on dating is more community-focused, with integrations for the events and groups you’re a part of on the platform.

Image: Facebook

Cox also mentioned a feature called “unlocking,” which will let any user of Facebook’s dating platform make his or her profile visible to other attendees of events or members of groups. From there, messaging takes place in distinct chat threads separate from Facebook Messenger. Cox says Facebook will announce more information, including a release date and rollout info for the dating features, later this year following a testing phase.

Image: Facebook

Some people speculated that Facebook would restrict its dating app features based on a user’s provided relationship status, such as “in a relationship” or “married,” as Zuckerberg introduced the feature by saying it was designed to appeal to users who list themselves as “single.” The company does not appear to be doing that, however, and there is no indication that Facebook is interested in excluding open relationships or other non-monogamous forms of dating from the platform.

Update May 1st, 3:10PM ET: Clarified that Facebook is not in fact excluding users based on relationship status info.

Comments

Oh boy, I’m sure that there won’t be any harassment problems from this being tied directly to your actual Facebook account that mandates that you have your real name and location listed publicly.

The profile will be separate. It won’t show your full name and I doubt it would show your location.

Please, they list your job, where you live, where you’re from and where you work. It’ll be trivial to track you down using Facebook’s own search tools.

It is as simple as from a Tinder profile

As he says, it has be tied "directly to your actual Facebook account".

Tinder users have the option of creating a "fake" secondary Facebook account where they change their personal data so that it doesn’t exactly match their actual Facebook account.

Since Facebook Dating is within the main Facebook app, this approach isn’t feasible unless you repeatedly log out and in between your real Facebook account (when you want to actually use Facebook) and your secondary account (when you want to use Dating). So no that’s not as simple.

Uh, you list the same things on your Tinder or Bumble profile. Especially the latter, which has only had Facebook sign up/login.

Yeah, you can protect yourself a bit by changing your job to a generic profession, but most people are lazy or stupid and don’t.

That also ignores the countless people that link Instagram or list their IG profile name on their Tinder/Bumble, which regularly lists their full name and fairly frequently is open/public.

They only list those things if you tell them to…

Unless your stalker works at CA I guess

The more that Facebook tries to take on, the more it makes for a good case for nationalization. Like, I get that the growth paths are harder now, but the aim should be maintenance and experiments.

Nationalization by which nation?

Nationalisation wouldn’t solve the perceived evils, breaking up the company into its recent acquisitions might if you’re that way inclined.

How is nationalization at all a good idea? If the government were to nationalize Facebook, where would it stop? YouTube’s a pretty huge platform and Google has its fingers everywhere on the internet, arguably moreso than Facebook – should Alphabet be nationalized too? Twitter?

How about the comments underneath Verge articles? Should they be regulated as social media platforms? Why not? How do you define the difference between a platform like Facebook and a platform like The Verge? The "unintended consequences" with that kind of thinking is horribly dangerous for the future of the internet. I can’t believe that sites who were as pro net-neutrality as The Verge would even entertain the idea of nationalization.

I feel like most of the 35-and-under crowd has moved onto other platforms (Instagram, Snap, etc.) for posting most of their personal lives on social media. Most people are too connected on Facebook and don’t want to use their profile that friends/family see as a dating profile.

From the article: "Your friends aren’t going to see your profile, and you’re only going to be suggested to people who are not your friends."

Pass.

Well that’s your perception as I presume there at the West. But oh boi Facebook is everything here in Asia as trust on Facrbook never really weakened here as the scandal never really got through the news cycle here as Facebook really hold the society here in the neck. I worry this could introduce more problems and fragmentations of society and relationship here. The initial announced implementation is even a problem itself, like don’t restrict it on certain Relationship Status only, this is gonna breed a hella lot of infidelity here

If this succeeds I’ll be shocked

It probably will from a # of profiles established because of the simplicity of being baked in to the Facebook app with its 1.5 billion profiles.

Whether it’ll actually win from an active user base is another thing.

"We’ve butchered your privacy and sold your life to Russians. Here’s a dating service."

Can you believe the chutzpah on this guy.

I was just thinking that.

Wait, what got sold to Russians?

Political advertising, which is illegal if it promotes a candidate.

It was sold to people connected to Russia that were based in the U.S., so you’re wrong.

Oh, I see. It’s OK for a foreign government to interfere in elections and no problem for the platform that enabled it as long the people doing it are in-country.

The question was "what got sold to the Russians?", not "Is it ok for a foreign government to interfere?".

That’s called being an unregistered foreign agent, which is also illegal, so no.

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