Facebook Inc will add features around dating and building long-term relationships on its social platform, Chief Executive Officer Mark Zuckerberg said on Tuesday at the company's developers conference.
The announcement sent the stock of Match Group, which owns properties such as Tinder, OkCupid, and Match.com, down 18 percent. People using the feature will be able to pick what groups or events they want to "unlock" to see more potential matches with the same interests. "We're surprised at the timing given the amount of personal and sensitive data that comes with this territory". Facebook plans to work with privacy advocates, academics, lawmakers when building this new feature, which should take "a few months" to arrive. "Your Facebook won't be as good while it relearns your preferences", he said. Those include how much of the company's revenue comes from Myanmar and if there was any link between the US elections and the 2017 purge of fake accounts.
To get to the dating feature, you'll simply tap the heart icon in the top right corner of your Facebook profile.
Zuckerberg also touted Facebook's new $199 virtual reality device, called the Oculus Go, saying everyone in attendance would get one for free.
"I know it hasn't been easy being a developer these last couple months, and that's probably an understatement", Zuckerberg said at the start of his speech.
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The opt-in feature will match Facebook users with people they aren't already friends with based on a private dating profile they create.
The CEO ran through the many steps that the company is taking to improve data privacy and security on the platform and to address problems like "fake news" and election manipulation.
A more recent change, Zuckerberg detailed on Tuesday, involves letting people delete a history of the websites they may have visited from Facebook as well as the cookies companies use to track people across multiple sites.
Facebook did not immediately respond to a message for comment on Cubeyou on Monday. If Facebook offered a dating service, it would essentially be eliminating the middleman. In a moment of levity, Zuckerberg introduced Facebook's new "Watch Party" - where multiple friends can watch a single video event together - by using his own congressional testimony as an example, which drew laughs from the crowd.
Officials in the United Kingdom and US have opened inquiries into Facebook and its privacy policies after it was revealed in March that Cambridge Analytica, a British-based political consulting firm, had amassed the personal information of 87 million Facebook users without their permission.