While Facebook is still struggling out of the data breach soup it found itself with the Cambridge Analytica scandal, CEO Mark Zuckerberg announced the launch of a dating section in Facebook.
The announcement was made by the CEO at an annual developer conference on Tuesday. The new app is clearly designed to compete with the more popular Tinder.
According to The Guardian, Chris Cox, the chief product officer informed that the proposed app will be an ‘opt-in’, meaning users can choose to use it, and it will keep the dating profile separate from the regular profile. The dating feature will use only a first name and be visible to only to the user, not the user’s Facebook friends. The feature will not appear in the news feed.
The user will also be able to browse events and then find a date to go to the event together. They will use a messaging feature separate from WhatsApp or Facebook Messenger.
“We want Facebook to be somewhere where you can start meaningful relationships,” he continued. “We’ve designed this with privacy and safety in mind from the beginning.”
Having said that, Mandy Ginsberg, the CEO of Match Group, which owns Tinder, was quoted by The Guardian, taking a jibe at Facebook by saying, “We’re surprised at the timing given the amount of personal and sensitive data that comes with this territory.”
Tinder, which was launched in September 2012, covers more than 190 countries, with around 1.4 billion swipes per day worldwide, 26 million matches per day, and more than 10 billion matches in all.
Apart from Tinder, Facebook faces competition from a slew of other dating services such as OKCupid, Bumble, and Hinge. Former Tinder co-founder, Whitney Wolfe’s Bumble, while having a lot of similarity with Tinder, puts the control in women users’ hands. That means, women get to make the first move, to which interested men can respond. It boasts of 900,000 visits per month globally.
With 10 million members in US alone, OKCupid is a very successful dating site right now, which claims to be very inclusive, with their users varying from different age range, sexual preference, gender, ethnicity, and social background.
India is experiencing a rise in dating app use with the advent of smartphones. Though, being a conservative society, such apps might be viewed as the corrupt sibling of matrimonial sites. On the other hand, too much moral policing often lead youth to get naughty on the sly.
While American apps like Tinder, Woo, Bumble, OKCupid, Moco, and HoopkedUp have entered the Indian market recently, they are fast becoming popular. Bumble can especially score with Indian ladies, considering the safety factor. Also, Bumble is the only dating app in India that is available for the iOS, making it a favorite with iPhone users.
Apart from US-based dating apps, India has been spawning some home grown apps, which have a desi twist. Truly Madly was co-founded by Sachin Bhatia, the MakeMyTrip founder, as a contender for Tinder. With a trust score feature and many games that users can play with their matches, the app is popular with the Indian crowd.
Thrill, an app originally created by Americans Devin Serago and Josh Israel in 2012, became essentially Indian when Shadi.com bought 25% in it. The app is popular with less tech-savvy people because of an intuitive user-interface. Along with Matchify, It is also one of the apps that put the power in women’s hands.
Dating apps that are not just popular in India but South Asia as well are Kama, Aisle and Dil Mil. These apps help users connect with matches from their own country’s descent, for which people usually had to visit matrimonial sites. Dil Mil was created to cater to desis living in the US, Canada, Australia, and the UK, but was launched in India in 2015.
Acquired by Shadi.com, Frivil, is a popularity based app, where the users get to rate other users and get rated themselves, hence finding out how attractive they are. Another app, ekCoffee, lets the user have one meaningful conversation with a probable match.
While the world has moved on and has started using dating apps for married people, such as Marital Affairs, Married Secrets, and Victoria Milan, India simply isn’t there yet. There is just one site that calls itself gleeden.com. India does have hundreds of matrimonial sites. Popular paid sites are Jeevansathi, Shadi, and Bharat Matrimony. While free sites are countless, a few popular ones include iMarriages and Simply Marry.