Facebook Inc has announced plans to offer its first dating service. Chief executive Mark Zuckerberg told software developers at Facebook’s annual F8 conference that a dating service would be a natural fit for a company that specialises in connecting people online.
“There are 200 million people on Facebook that list themselves as single, so clearly there’s something to do here,” Mr Zuckerberg said.
A dating service could increase the time people spend on Facebook and be a “big problem” for competitors such as Match, said James Cordwell, an analyst at Atlantic Equities.
“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,” Mr Cordwell said.
A prototype displayed on screens at the F8 conference showed a heart shape at the top-right corner of the Facebook app. Pressing on it will take people to their dating profile if they have set one up.
The prototype was built around local, in-person events, allowing people to browse other attendees and send them messages.
The feature will be for finding long-term relationships, “not just hook-ups,” Mr Zuckerberg said. It will be optional and will launch soon, he added, without giving a specific day.
Facebook chief product officer Chris Cox said in a separate presentation that the company would share more over the next few months.
The dating service was being built with privacy in mind, so that friends would not be able to see a person’s dating profile, Mr Zuckerberg said.