Online Dating Executives React to Facebook Dating’s US Launch

Facebook launched its Dating product in the US yesterday, taking many in the industry by surprise and causing Match Group’s stock to tumble 10%.

The country will be Facebook Dating’s 20th international market, after it rolled out across Latin America and Asia earlier this year. The product has been live in neighbouring Canada for several months.

Below, Global Dating Insights has collected comments relating to the launch from around the dating sector.

Leigh Isaacson, CEO of Dig – The Dog Person’s Dating App: “Facebook clearly recognizes the value of connecting daters based on their niche passions and that dogs are already an important aspect of dating culture. Facebook’s recent IP document even references ‘I Love Corgis’ as an example group where people may be interested in making dating connections.

“Most dating app users use 3-4 dating apps at one time, and having Facebook introduce its massive audience to the benefits of niche dating will benefit Dig and all niche dating apps as the pool of potential online daters continues to grow among demographics, geographies, and dog-loving groups everywhere.”

Zackary Lewis, Founder of Say Allo: “We’ve long awaited the day when Facebook Dating would go live in the US.  Their entrance will no doubt come with praise from users who enjoy the ease of connecting through social media, and others who abhor the idea of Facebook becoming further entrenched into their online activity. Now tapping into something that is deeply personal: love. For Americans specifically, the idea of giving more access to user data may be a large obstacle for the social media behemoth to overcome.

“Today’s announcement from Facebook has the potential to turn the social media giant into the largest dating community overnight. That said, we believe that apps like Say Allo that are more niche focused – in our case, on “relationship compatibility” – will always have a place in the dating marketplace for people searching for deeper connections, while maintaining their anonymity from their social media lives.”

Dennie Smith, Founder of Old Style Dating: “It’s not surprising that Facebook is doing this, but I wonder how many will trust them with their ‘love life’ after so much bad press they have had of late.”

Dan Winchester, Co-founder of Scamalytics: “We already see Facebook used extensively by romance scammers in three ways: Firstly they move targets away from dating services and onto Facebook messaging services such as Messenger and WhatsApp, which is where they execute the scam. Secondly scammers use fake profiles on Facebook to add credibility to their cover story. And thirdly, scammers use the main Facebook platform to seek out potential targets, for example by participating in groups. 

“Facebook’s move into mainstream dating has the potential to bring all three areas together: The means for scammers to target and make initial contact with potential victims; the opportunity to tie this in with a Facebook profile to build credibility; and the opportunity to move the victim seamlessly onto an unmonitored and encrypted messaging platform such as Facebook’s WhatsApp. Our view is that Facebook is already failing to keep on top of romance fraud on their existing social networking platform, therefore their entry into mainstream dating could result in a significant increase in romance fraud unless they ramp up their anti-scammer measures in line with the existing dating industry best practice.”


Amanda Bradford, Founder & CEO of The League: “With Facebook Dating we officially welcome in the era of ‘Social Dating’, or what I predict will be the merging of dating networks and social networks. You can see this with Tinder’s launch of their own stories and The League’s Local Groups & Events features that aim directly to replicate core Facebook social networking features. 

“Though Facebook’s business model allows them to offer free dating supported by Advertiser revenue, which obviously reduces friction to adoption, I believe in this next chapter the consumers actually prefer the reverse – to do their social networking in a community that doesn’t rely on advertiser dollars (and excessive user data) to survive, and where listening to the users is actually in the best interest of the company. Why would anyone want Facebook to have any more of a data-monopoly than they already do?! 

“I am bullish that in this new era of increased consumer awareness, dating apps will finally be able to do what they’ve hoped to do for decades past, cross the chasm and become a social network. Tinder and The League are the two I see as the biggest contenders and who have made the most progress towards becoming the next generation’s social network, supported the way it should have been from the beginning – by its users!”

Shahzad Younas, CEO of muzmatch: “With the general toxicity around Facebook when it comes to our personal data, it will surely be interesting to see whether users would be comfortable sharing their most personal aspect of their lives with Facebook. 

“That said, given their huge size, it will just take a very small percentage of their total user base to sign up to FB Dating to make it a large platform in its own right. With muzmatch we are catering to a more specific niche and purpose – generalised dating services such as theirs won’t cut it for our audience.”

Andy Croghan, Sales & Marketing Manager at HubStars: “Facebook Dating launching in the USA will afford a significant increase in volume of users and with it much greater exposure. We have long seen a desire for users to separate their Dating Life from their Real Life Persona for myriad reasons but not least their own safety. This has been demonstrated to us by the persistently low of use of Social login buttons on our services compared to other online services.

“In the medium term, I’m not convinced investors in Facebook will be forgiving of any negative media stories related to user’s physical security irrespective of the steps Facebook Dating takes to protect them. Investors in dedicated Dating companies have this risk ‘baked in’ to their investment decision because of the nature of the business. I see quite a lot of tension between Facebook’s Advertising based revenue model, access to unprecedented volumes of user data and Mr Zuckerberg’s assertion that Facebook is all about Privacy.

“Ultimately I believe this will tie their hands and prevent them from delivering the ‘slam dunk’ product they might be able to if Dating was their only concern.”


David Vermeulen, CEO & Founder of The Inner Circle: “Facebook is clearly trying to take advantage of its unmatchable access to data. However, data-driven algorithms are not enough to ensure a positive user experience in the dating world. That’s because it’s not just about data, it’s about intentions.

“Long-lasting romantic connections are made based on shared values. Personal qualities cannot be accurately reflected through data. It is for this reason that the most popular dating apps are not the ones with the largest user or data base, but those that force users to showcase their personality. It is those authentic connections that deliver better matches.”

Prashant Pitti, Founder of NearGroup Chatbot: “Via regular Facebook profiles of their dating users, Facebook can access success-ratio of their matching algorithms far better than any other dating company. However with recent security lapses, users may vary using Facebook for their dating needs.

“Plus horizontal integration does not work always, people like to use a product for a specific purpose.”

Paul Barnes, MD EMEA at App Annie: “The majority of users of the biggest dating app in the UK, Tinder, will have multiple dating apps they use. Facebook’s network gives it an edge as a new entrant into dating apps, since their success depends on the network they can build. Like most new apps, User Acquisition is the first hurdle, but Facebook already has a user base they simply need to convert, which accelerates them along the app maturity cycle already.

“In terms of the kind of people who are most likely to use Facebook dating, the most obvious place to start is Facebook’s current demographic, which has grown to skew slightly more female than male, and leans towards older generations – insofar as Gen Z under indexes on Facebook usage by 25% compared to general iPhone users.

“Facebook remains one of the most popular social networks, in terms of time spent – despite its turbulent past 18 months. Between Jan 2018 to July 2019 inclusive, Facebook was the #1 Overall App by Total Time Spent on Android Phone in the UK. Globally (excluding China), it is #3rd. Its users are more loyal than we might think and it makes sense to find another reason to keep people within its platform. Facebook used to be about finding new friends, but it’s evolved into a multifaceted online platform.

“Apps are becoming the key platform for engagement; it’s our go-to device for most day to day tasks now, so it makes sense that it’s also a platform to make real-world connections. It’s not about chemistry anymore; it’s about maths – how algorithms help to sift through the masses, which is why people opt to have multiple dating app profiles. There have been over 69 million dating app downloads in the UK to date across iOS and Google Play. In Q3 2018 alone, there were 2.7 million dating app downloads in the UK. Even in the UK, a new dating app called Honeypot launched with a vibrant marketing campaign.”

Phil Henricks, Senior Director of Marketing at GROWLr: “They have an unprecedented reach however this launch is coming at a low point in the public’s perception and levels of trust.

“They have been dodging privacy and hacking concerns for the past year so it doesn’t seem like an ideal time to launch something as personal and private as dating.”

CEO of DateID Remy Tennant: “As a date screening platform that is agnostic to dating sites, DateID welcomes any and all dating apps to the market, especially those that will make online dating (even) more mainstream. 95% of people screen their dates online before agreeing to meet, and most Facebook Dating users won’t do any differently.

“That said, Facebook does present new risks and challenges for online daters, since scammers routinely use Facebook to create fake personas, and messaging platforms like Messenger and WhatsApp to communicate. Like with all dating apps, Facebook daters should be wary of scams, and should not hesitate to ask their potential date to get verified with DateID, which is free to use and has unparalleled identity verification capabilities.”

Dating expert James Preece: “Facebook originally had a huge dating side to it. You could search for singles in your area and reach out without any need to be connected. They stopped this feature when they started allowing advertising, especially for dating companies.

“In the meantime, people still been using it get dates by flirting with friends of friends and asking for introductions. So it’s not a new feature and not something to be concerned with. Singles will always give everything a try once.”

Scott Harvey

Scott is the Editor of Global Dating Insights. Raised in Dorset, he holds a BA from The University of Nottingham and an MSc from Lund University School of Economics and Management. Previously he has written about politics, economics and technology for various online publications.

Global Dating Insights is part of the Industry Insights Group. Registered in the UK. Company No: 14395769