Word out is that Facebook has announced a new dating feature for the social network, which he says will deliver strong privacy and safety protections for its users.

The unveiling of the new feature was made by Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg at the F8 developer’s conference at the San Jose McEnery Convention Center in California on Tuesday, 1 May.

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.

“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 announcement drew a tongue-in-cheek welcome to the competitive online dating field from IAC, whose holdings include platforms like OKCupid and Tinder.

“Come on in. The water’s warm. Their product could be great for US/Russia relationships”, CEO Joey Levin said in a statement, referencing the fact that Russian-linked operatives used Facebook to widen societal divides and influence the 2016 presidential election.

Chief Facebook product officer Chris Cox explained the details of the new dating feature further, saying that it 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.

See Also: Zuckerberg pressured by UK lawmakers to testify on Facebook data breach

“We hope this will allow more folks to meet, and hopefully find partners.”

The feature will be 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,” Facebook explained. “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.

“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.”



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