Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg announced at the company’s F8 developer conference on Tuesday that users will soon have the option to create dating profiles on the platform.
“There are 200 million people on Facebook who list themselves as single,” Zuckerberg said during his keynote speech. “So clearly there’s something to do here.”
Zuckerberg stressed that the tools will focus on building “real long-term relationships, not just hookups” and be especially mindful of privacy and safety. He added that the service will not recommend users’ friends as romantic prospects. In fact, dating profiles won’t even be visible to friends.
Chief product officer Chris Cox ran through more specifics of the features later in the conference, clarifying that the dating profiles will only be accessible to other people using the service and won’t show up in newsfeed. He also explained that users of the service will be able to click on an event or group and contact other singles who have also indicated an interest in attending. From there, people will be able to start text-only conversations in a private messaging inbox that won’t be connected to Facebook Messenger or WhatsApp.
“We like this, by the way, because it mirrors the way people actually date, which is usually at events and in institutions that they’re connected through,” Cox said.
Facebook is entering a crowded online dating market with formidable incumbents such as Tinder, which has around 50 million users, and Bumble, which has around 22 million. However, it appears as if investors are betting on Facebook’s chances to make a dent on the competition: shares for the Match Group, which owns Tinder, OkCupid, and Match.com, fell more than 20 percent right after Zuckerberg made the initial announcement.
Other big platform-based announcements from the conference include the addition of group video calling for Instagram and WhatsApp, and AR camera effects for Instagram.