Just after the company is beginning to recover from a brutal data breach impacting million's of user's data, Facebook is announcing a new way for it to use the data of its billions of users.
Mark Zuckerberg, the CEO of the company, announced this week a new tool for people looking to data that lets them create a separate profile to list their interests, location, job, likes and personality traits, and then reach out to people with similar profiles as you, such as someone going to the same event you are.
There are already handfuls of dating apps out there, including Tinder, Match, Bumble and more, but introducing its own dating feature will allow the company to leverage its 2.2 billion active users.
Facebook monthly active users worldwide in millions
Match, owner of the popular dating apps Tinder and OkCupid took a hit in the value of its stock when Facebook made this announcement, but Facebook is still dealing with the issues surrounding its privacy scandal and its competitors don't feel threatened.
In response to the launch of the feature, Match Group CEO Mandy Ginsberg said: "We’re flattered that Facebook is coming into our space — and sees the global opportunity that we do — as Tinder continues to skyrocket. We’re surprised at the timing given the amount of personal and sensitive data that comes with this territory."
Though Match might seem sure of itself and its place in the dating sphere, its investors seemed to be a bit nervous about the new feature when the price of the company's stock fell by more than $10.
Match Group stock value during Facebook's announcement
Only last month, Facebook was forced to disclose that data from 87 million people was used improperly and without their permission, or Facebook's knowledge, by Cambridge Analytica. This led to a movement to delete the service, several days of testimony in Senate and Congress and, most recently, Cambridge Analytica going out of business.
The biggest revelation from the scandal is that though younger people are deleting Facebook in droves, people over age 35 are still signing up at steady rates. A dating feature won't stop people from leaving the service, but it could easily cause existing users to spend more time in the app, if the feature is implemented correctly. Pushing so hard into video hasn't boosted usage in the app the way Zuckerberg hoped it would, with in-app time spent fallen by 50 million hours per day at the end of 2017, but maybe turning itself into a dating app might help.
Though the company has been doing everything it can to boost its reputation recently, including adding a "clear history" tool, it still has a ways to go. This feature was apparently built with privacy in mind, which is now essential for the company's long-term survival, and it doesn't have plans to sell targeted ads on the dating platform or to use the information collected for ads in the News Feed.