Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg has announced a new dating feature for the social network, which he says will deliver “strong privacy and safety protections for its users”, which probably had to be said given the recent Cambridge Analytica scandal.

The big reveal of the new feature was made at the companies F8 developers conference at the San Jose McEnery Convention Center in California.

Mr Zuckerberg said more than 200 million people on Facebook list themselves as single and that the new platform would let them connect with people outside of their friends list. I would imagine most people are lax at updating their settings, but perhaps this dating feature will be a good time to start if you are listed as single, but now have a better half.

“This is going to be for building real, long-term relationships — not just for hookups,” Mr Zuckerberg said.

“We have designed this with privacy and safety in mind from the beginning. Your friends aren’t going to see your profile, and you’re only going to be suggested to people who are not your friends.”

The hook up reference may be a swipe at Tinder, who have exponentially grown from a small cult following to becoming a globally famous go to for millennials seeking love…. or a bit of short term company.

Chief product officer Chris Cox said that the feature has been in development for a long time.
“We were convinced dating would be the next feature Facebook would add,” Mr Cox said, referring to when he first joined Facebook in 2005,We hope this will allow more folks to meet, and hopefully find partners.”

The feature will is apparently opt-in and will be supported through the Facebook app.

“People already use Facebook to meet new people, and we want to make that experience better, People will be able to create a dating profile that is separate from their Facebook profile — and potential matches will be recommended based on dating preferences, things in common, and mutual friends” Zuckerberg explained.

“They’ll have the option to discover others with similar interests through their Groups or Events. However, what people do within the dating feature will not be shown to their friends. We’ll share more information when this begins testing later this year.”

It is an interesting time to launch this feature with users around the world becoming more conscious of just how much data that Facebook and those it monetises that data through have, the best quote i heard recently was “Facebook doesn’t have users, it has 2 billion unpaid data entry employees”

That being said to be devils advocate perhaps Facebook is the best company to end unhappy single life and can pair perfect matches. It will be interesting if this is to dating what Google+ is to social networking in that it is there but nobody cares. Time will tell but one thing is for sure Tinder CEO Sean Rad will be unlikely to be swiping right with this news and I would imagine neither would their investors.

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