Why Facebook Wants to Play Matchmaker for 200 Million Singles

The social network needs Dating to boost a flagging metric: time spent on Facebook

With the launch of Facebook Dating in the U.S. on Thursday, the social media giant wants to help you find your significant other — or, at least, your next hot date.

Is the free (and ad-free) service simply a benevolent offering from CEO-turned-Cupid Mark Zuckerberg? Or a sign the social network is simply running out of ideas?

It’s more a continuation of Facebook’s dog-eat-dog approach to social networking. Facebook and Facebook-owned Instagram have already shamelessly lifted Stories — initially made famous by Snapchat — and made it their own. Facebook, after executives internally fretted about WhatsApp’s rapid growth in comparison to Messenger, decided to buy its competitor for $19 billion five years ago. Now, with its move into dating, Facebook is looking to once again expand into territory it’s not known for, and win.

Wall Street immediately took notice, with Match Group, the parent company of Tinder, OkCupid and Match.com, seeing its stock price drop more than 5% on Thursday.

At least in its early days, this doesn’t appear to be a big revenue driver for Facebook. The company…

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Sean Burch

Tech reporter • sean.burch@thewrap.com • @seanb44