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Who will use Facebook to find love?

Facebook needs you to make friends. And now it needs you to find our soulmate.

Founder and chief govt officer Mark Zuckerberg mentioned throughout Facebook’s FB, +1.08%   annual conference on Wednesday that the largest social media website online in the world would launch a dating characteristic later this year. “Today, we're pronouncing a brand new set of features, coming quickly, around dating,” he mentioned. “This goes to be for building actual, long-term relationships, now not simply hook-ups.”

The company is getting into a crowded space: The dating business is value around $3 billion, with income break up between promoting and subscription services and products, up income up around 5% in keeping with year, in line with a report via research company IBISWorld. Of that, around half is from on-line dating. But it has one big benefit: More than 2 billion individuals all over the world. As dating swimming pools go, they don’t get much larger than that.

A Facebook spokeswoman instructed MarketWatch the brand new characteristic will allow users to set up a dating profile cut loose their commonplace Facebook account, and task on dating profiles won’t be shared on the News Feed. Like Tinder, this dating service will simplest display users’ first names. (That’s useful, given that so many other people tell fibs on dating sites.) Users will not be matched with friends on Facebook, but somewhat others who've marked themselves as “single” on the social media community.

Don’t omit: Dating sites crack down on liars

Shares of Match Group MTCH, -22.09% which owns Tinder and OkCupid, were down nine.6% Tuesday following Facebook’s announcement. Several primary on-line dating platforms, together with Tinder, Hinge, and Bumble, use Facebook’s platform to attach profiles to dating profiles, the usage of photos and primary names within the app. Skittish singletons can then look the individual up on Facebook, if they have mutual friends, and to find out extra about them. In pronouncing its own dating service, Facebook has essentially minimize out the center man.

But who will in reality use the characteristic? Meredith Golden, a dating coach based in New York City, mentioned she believes the brand new characteristic might be used largely via divorcees and users over 40 who is also less most probably to use other on-line services and products. Even though a Facebook dating service could act in the same way as other location-based dating apps, other people understand it most commonly as a well-known and unthreatening position to speak to friends. It’s a virtually seamless transition to dating.

Also see: What NOT to do on a dating web page

“There are tens of millions of singles on this demographic who want to meet any person but have reservations about the usage of dating apps,” she mentioned. “If they’ve already been the usage of Facebook and really feel pleased with the format, this might be a very easy transition for any person reentering the dating marketplace.”

This is an increasingly lucrative marketplace. Online dating is growing in popularity for other people in their 50s and older, in line with the Pew Research Center. The collection of 55 to 65-year-olds dating on-line has doubled from 6% in 2013 to 12% in 2017, it found. Still, on-line dating is still much more common in younger generations, with the share of 18 to -24-year-olds the usage of on-line dating services and products nearly tripling from 10% to 27% in that point.

From a data viewpoint, it’s now not the best timing. Facebook is currently under fireplace for the way it makes use of user information, following a scandal involving Cambridge Analytica, a company that used information to steer the 2016 presidential elections, and improperly accessed the knowledge of at least 87 million Facebook users. Consumers is also do away with Facebook extending its ecosystem into yet another part of other people’s social lives, in the same way Amazon AMZN, +1.03%  has accomplished with e-commerce.

Still, Zuckerberg apologized for the privateness violations and mentioned the company would overview all third birthday party apps getting access to information on the website online. What’s extra, the company already has your information, so there is also less incentive for single users to log onto yet another website online.