‘Great for U.S./Russia Relationships:’ Match Owner Takes Swipe at Facebook’s Dating Business Ambitions

When announced on Tuesday that it was launching a dating service, many eyebrows were raised: after all, this is a company that is currently under fire around the world for the lax way in which it has handled users’ personal data.

So it’s not much of a surprise to see Facebook’s newfound rivals--more established dating services--seize upon this fact. First to the plate: Match.com.

Facebook’s announcement whacked Match’s stock by a whopping 22%. And in an email to Bloomberg, Match CEO Mandy Ginsberg leapt on the chance to highlight Facebook’s privacy woes.

“We’re flattered that Facebook is coming into our space--and sees the global opportunity that we do,” she said. “We’re surprised at the timing given the amount of personal and sensitive data that comes with this territory.”

Match owner IAC/InterActiveCorp (stock down over 17% on the announcement) also waded in, with CEO Joey Levin saying Facebook’s new dating product “could be great for U.S./Russia relationships.” Ouch.

The details of Facebook’s new service are scanty for now, but CEO Mark Zuckerberg told attendees at the firm’s F8 conference that it would be for “long-term relationships” rather than “hook-ups.” The service will only be usable by Facebook users who list themselves as single, and it was, he said, “designed...with privacy from the beginning.”

Apart from its proximity to the Cambridge Analytica debacle, Facebook’s announcement came just after someone alleged that a Facebook employee had been stalking women online by using their privileged access to the company’s systems. The company has reportedly fired the employee.

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