Perhaps one of the most surprising announcements at Facebook's recently concluded F8 developer conference was that it's launching an online dating service.
Once rolled out, Facebook will effectively become a rival to Tinder, Hinge, and other modern dating platforms, spelling trouble for those companies.
For a social network with over 2 billion users, venturing into online dating makes perfect sense. Even Chris Cox, the company's chief product officer, said he thought Facebook would have launched a dating app more than a decade ago.
"[W]hen 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," said Cox during the keynote.
No Ads On Dating App, Facebook Says
Even more surprising is the fact that Facebook won't put ads on the said service, as Recode reports. Coming right on the heels of a disastrous data scandal involving the now-defunct Cambridge Analytica, it would be wise for Facebook to avoid anything indicating that it plans on collecting even more data from users who are already wary of giving it.
Facebook reportedly withdrew plans to announce its official line of smart speakers during the conference for fear of making its data scandal even worse. Facebook now plans to launch those device in international markets first, according to reports.
Getting Users Back
The online dating service could be one of the solutions Facebook has in store to convince audiences it lost over the data fiasco to come back to the platform. Users don't have to worry about their data being mishandled again, as Facebook says it won't leverage dating profiles to target users with specific ads. That's an important component of the service Facebook must uphold, as its relationship with users when it comes to ads and data privacy is already unhealthy.
It's not certain when Facebook's dating service will launch, but a spokesperson says the company hopes to begin testing the feature in the coming months. Those tests will determine when it will roll out more broadly. The service will have its own messaging service instead of using Messenger or WhatsApp, unless both parties decide to swap numbers or usernames. Participants will only be limited to sending texts to other users — no images or video allowed.
Will you join Facebook's online dating service? As always, if you have anything to share, feel free to sound them off in the comments section below!