Further bolstering their recent efforts to prove jyst how trustworthy they are, Facebook has decided it’s time to jump on the romance bandwagon, and has announced that the company will soon be launching a dating app.
The app is set to work within Facebook’s current platform, and is, according to CEO Mark Zuckerberg, going to be better suited to more serious relationships.
“This is going to be for building real long-term relationships,” said the recently-beleaguered tech guru, “not just for hookups.”
Facebook came under scrutiny earlier this year (and copped a fair bit of media flak) after the Cambridge Analytica fiasco, which showed just how far reaching and targeted the potential for Russian meddling in the 2016 US election may have been. Facebook is a highly effective platform for extremely targeted advertising and Zuckerberg was forced to admit in front of congress that it had been abused by foreign powers, and apologised for not intervening sooner.
While some may see this move into dating-app-territory as an obvious PR grab, others aren’t so skeptical. Match, the company that owns Tinder, OkCupid and PlentyOfFish, amongst others, took a big hit one week ago when the announcement was made, their share price plummeting about a quarter.
The interface itself sounds like the most appealing part, as it will operate in unison with an existing Facebook profile. Users will be able to set up the “dating” element of their account, which will remain invisible to their friends. Based on user data, they will then be able to browse other dating profiles that are a suitable match. The service will also be ad-free: a huge plus for many who use Tinder or Bumble, and find the advertising too much (or just plain annoying).
Facebook have technically always had that little box you could tick to let everybody know that you were single (and ready to mingle), but using Facebook as a way of finding true love has never really taken off in its current format. Facebook’s Chief Product Officer Chris Cox commented on this fact shortly after the announcement was made.
“One of the great ironies for me is that when a lot of us joined the very first version of the service in 2004, back when it was just a handful of college students, we were convinced that dating would be the next feature Facebook was going to add,” he said.
“We were right, just 14 years too early.”