Facebook’s Zuckerberg wants to help you find love
Facebook Inc is entering the dating game, Chief Executive Mark Zuckerberg said on Tuesday, planning a dating service to matchmake millions of people on the world’s largest online social network and nudge them into spending more time there.
The service, which Facebook had considered offering for over a decade and will launch soon, could help rebuild its popularity among younger consumers and make people visit the site more often, two key challenges for the business.
“There are 200 million people on Facebook that list themselves as single, so clearly there’s something to do here,” Zuckerberg told software developers at Facebook’s annual F8 conference.
Facebook shares rose 1.1 percent to close at $173.86 on the news, which sparked a sell-off of established online dating service providers.
Facebook users have been able to reveal their relationship status on the network since it first went live in February 2004.
Zuckerberg said Facebook was building the dating service with an emphasis on privacy, a sensitive subject for people who use dating websites and for Facebook as the company reels from a scandal over its handling of personal information.
A dating service could increase the time people spend on Facebook and be a “big problem” for competitors such as Match Group Inc, said James Cordwell, an analyst at Atlantic Equities. Match, the owner of popular mobile dating app Tinder and OkCupid, calls itself the “global leader in dating” on its website.
“But the initial functionality looks relatively basic compared to those offered by Match’s services, so the impact Facebook has on the dating space will be down to how well it executes in this area,” Cordwell said.