All’s fair in electronic love and dating – or is it? The battle for hearts and minds of couples seeking their perfect match online has taken a new turn. If you’re a flirty mobile warrior Tindering on the brink or Bumbling from one swipe to the next, be aware there’s another game in town as Facebook muscles in to place its own tanks on the lawn.
As online dating becomes the virtual norm — some experts suggest half of the couples will meet that way come the end of the decade — Facebook’s gradual arrival on the dating scene — launched progressively in the Americas and Southeast Asia — looks set to shake up the market.
Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg said last month he saw the company as moving towards the forefront of online dating having promised at the outset a service “for building real long-term relationships — not just hook-ups.” But rivals are not quaking in their boots just yet, despite the size of the social media giant’s global footprint with more than two billion monthly active users some of whose data it now could leverage for romantic purposes.
“Facebook (Dating) has been going in certain countries for more than a year now and, for the moment, we’ve seen nothing change in terms of market share,” said Didier Rappaport, founder and MD of popular French dating app Happn — motto, ‘crushes don’t fall from the sky’.
Facebook was not able to say exactly when it would launch its dating variant in Europe. Early 2020 had been the mooted target, but on the eve of Valentine’s Day, this Friday, its rivals were still waiting with bated breath to see what effect such a storied — and free — competitor may have.
The social networking site has “copied everything which worked well on other applications and added two or three functionalities. What interests them is getting users to link in the sharing of private content.” A December opinion poll of 21,000 people by Pipl Say showed only 23 percent of responders would happily let Facebook securely store their personal data on its dating platform.A Tinder spokesman said it sees its rivals as general apps popular with young web surfers such as Tik Tok, Snapchat, Netflix and YouTube rather than dedicated dating apps.