Facebook to be a cupid this time: Launching a dating feature

Facebook now wants to help its users change their statuses from single to in a relationship.

Facebook will launch a new feature on its app later this year that will allow users to create a dating profile and match with potential love interests, the company’s CEO Mark Zuckerberg announced at the annual F8 conference held in San Jose on Tuesday. The new Facebook dating feature news comes as the company grapples with the aftermath of a massive data breach that impacted tens of millions of users and an onslaught of criticism for how it handled their personal data.

The dating profile can be created separate from an individual’s existing Facebook profile — and the user’s friends won’t be able to see it, the company said in a statement detailing the new feature. The app will find potential matches “based on dating preferences, things in common, and mutual friends,” and users can search for others based on the groups they’re a part of and events they’re interested in.

The new feature will compete with dating apps and platforms, like Tinder, OKCupid, Bumble, Hinge and more. In his announcement, Zuckerberg joked the new feature is intended to not follow the stereotypical line of thought for such apps.

“This is going to be for building real, long-term relationships — not just for hookups,” Zuckerberg said. The feature will be completely optional, he added.

More details about the new dating app-esque feature will come closer to its launch, the company said.

Tens of millions of Facebook users saw their personal data compromised in the Cambridge Analytica breach, as revealed earlier this year. The massive hack prompted new questions about privacy levels on the platform, incited a #DeleteFacebook movement by some users and sent Zuckerberg to the Capitol to testify for hours in front of members of Congress.

“I want to be clear that we have designed this with privacy and safety in mind from the beginning,” Zuckerberg said of the new dating feature.

Shares for Match Group Inc, which owns Tinder, OKCupid and Match.com, fell more than 17% in Tuesday trading.

Zuckerberg also announced a number of other upcoming features and updates for Facebook and Instagram at the annual conference Tuesday. Facebook users will soon be allowed to “downvote” posts Reddit-style to “improve the quality of public conversation.”

He also reiterated the company’s goals following its data hack scandal and role in Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election. “It’s not enough to build powerful tools,” Zuckerberg said. “We need to make sure they are used for good.”