It will be optional and will launch soon, he added, without giving a specific day.Facebook Chief Product Officer Chris Cox said in a separate presentation that the company would share more over the next few months.Thousands of people responded to Zuckerberg’s post with similar stories about meeting partners on Facebook, Cox said. People will be able to start a conversation with a potential match by commenting on one of their photos, but for safety reasons that Cox did not specify, the conversations will be text-only, he said.
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Concerns about privacy on Facebook have grown since the social network’s admission in March that the data of millions of users was wrongly harvested by political consultancy Cambridge Analytica.
A dating service “represents a potentially challenging situation if Facebook can’t fulfill its promise to offer dating services in a privacy-protected and safe way,” said Debra Aho Williamson, an analyst at e Marketer.
Cox said he had been thinking about a dating feature on Facebook since 2005, when he joined the company about a year after its founding.
The company began seriously considering adding a dating service in 2016, when Zuckerberg posted on his Facebook page a photo of a couple who had met on the network, Cox said.
Facebook appears to simply be cutting out the middleman (in this case Tinder, Hinge, et al) and monetizing the service for itself.