The world’s largest dating group is taking a beating in the stock market, thanks to Mark Zuckerberg and Facebook. In a move that is most likely to shake up the online dating market, Zuckerberg announced during the company’s F8 developers conference in San Jose, California, on Tuesday that his company will be launching a dating feature on its main mobile app.
Since news broke of Facebook’s impending plan, Match Group, which owns and operates several online dating websites like OkCupid, Tinder, and Match.com, has plunged as much as 21%. IAC/InteractiveCorp, which owns 21.6% of Match Group has also plunged 14% as of 2 p.m. ET.
Facebook’s foray into the online dating business makes sense. The social media giant has 2.2 billion monthly active users while Tinder, the most popular of the online dating apps has only 50 million.
“This is going to be for building real, long-term relationships—not just for hookups,” Zuckerberg said onstage. The new feature will be integrated into the mobile app and users will have to opt-in. “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.”
Here’s how it will work:
- You can set up a new dating profile on Facebook completely separate from your normal Facebook profile and users’ activity won’t be shared with friends on Facebook in messages or in the News Feed.
- Following in Tinder’s footsteps, the dating profile will only show first names.
- Zuckerberg said users won’t be matched with existing Facebook friends—even friends who have opted in to use the service.
- Users can unlock individual events or groups they’re a member of to see potential matches. “Just like in real life, the more active you are in the communities around you, the more opportunities you’ll have to meet awesome people…”
- Facebook has also decided to separate the dating inbox from the messaging app. The messaging service within the dating feature will be text-only communication, which means people won’t be able to send photos or links when they’re chatting for the first time.