Facebook Inc.’s CEO Mark Zuckerberg announced on Tuesday that the company is planning to launch its first dating service. Speaking to software developers at the company’s annual F8 conference, Zuckerberg said a dating service would be a natural fit for a social network, which is dedicated to connecting people online.
The announcement sent shares of Match Group Inc (MTCH) down more than 20 percent on Tuesday. Match owns famous dating app Tinder.
Talking about the entry of Facebook into a growing market, Zuckerberg said there are more than 200 million users on the world’s largest social network that marked themselves as single, so certainly “there is something to do here.”
An analyst at Atlantic Equities, James Cordwell said introducing a dating service could boost the time users spend on Facebook and could create problems for rivals like Match. However, initial functionality seems comparatively basic in contrast to those offered by Match, so the affect Facebook will have on the dating market will depend on how well it executes in this space, he added.
Zuckerberg said the features will help people to find long-term relationships, rather than just hook-ups. It will be optional and will be rolled out soon, he added.
The company didn’t reveal the exact time it will be launching the new feature.
However, Chief Product Officer at Facebook, Chris Cox said Facebook would disclose more information regarding the new service over the coming months. Users will be able to begin a conversation with a likely match by writing a comment on one of their pictures, but for safety purpose the chats will be text-only, he said.
Cox added that he had been considering about adding a dating feature to Facebook since 2005.
Zuckerberg said Facebook is working on the dating app with privacy in mind so that users dating profile is not visible to their friends.