Facebook plans a new dating feature, sending Match, IAC plunging

by BLOOMBERG

Facebook Inc. Chief Executive Officer Mark Zuckerberg said the company is rolling out a new dating feature, sending shares in dating app company Match Group Inc. and its largest owner IAC/InterActiveCorp. plunging.

The tool would help connect people who aren’t Facebook friends, Zuckerberg said in a presentation at the company’s developer conference, F8. Match, which owns apps like Tinder and OkCupid, fell as much as 21 percent, the most in more than two years, while IAC fell as much as 14 percent.

Match has been acquiring dating apps as it seeks to consolidate the market and is considered the clear leader in the field. But Facebook could potentially leverage its extensive web of connections among people and data on relationships — users are encouraged to publicize their relationship status on their home pages — as well as its massive financial resources, to compete with the dating companies.

At the same time, Facebook is working to win back public trust after outcry over the way it uses and protects user data.