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Facebook's Dating App Came Out at the Wrong Time

May 01, 2018 00:00 AM UTC
- Updated September 02, 2020 11:39 AM UTC

The company has bigger fish to fry

Transcript
[MUSIC PLAYING] Welcome to Fortune Tech Debate, where we discuss the topic of the day in just two minutes. Today we'll be talking about Facebook. They just launched a whole bunch of new products yesterday, including a dating app. Of course, that comes just weeks after a huge privacy scandal, when a bunch of their users' data was leaked. Jeff, is this too soon? This was a big day yesterday for Facebook. It's their big developers conference. There's normally lots of hoopla and stuff, but you're right. It's a precarious time. They're getting away with this nasty, nasty privacy scandal. But my opinion, I think Facebook handled it well. They trotted out this new stuff. There's new Instagram video chats. There's new virtual reality stuff, and mixed in, some new privacy promises and even some new privacy features. So I think they struck the right balance and showed the company is moving forward from this privacy debacle. I mean, it really was a debacle. 87 million people's data was leaked in this Cambridge Analytica scandal. And now Facebook is asking for people to give them more data for this dating app? I mean, isn't that just exactly what people aren't ready to do? Yeah, it shows a bit of hutzpah, I have to admit, asking, like, we took your data, now we're going to help you find who to date. But I think the way they designed it is pretty good. It doesn't necessarily mix-- your friends can't see who you're dating on Facebook. It's a huge new opportunity, and the proof is the market liked it. The share price of the other dating app companies, the ones that have like Bumble and Tinder, their stock was down 20%. People seemed to believe this is a smart move for Facebook. Well, sure, it hurt the stock, and investors are worried. But the CEO of IAC, which owns match.com, quipped that it's going to maybe help the US and Russia relations with this dating app, but he's not so sure about everybody else. It's a clever quip, and people seem to think Facebook is creepy. And I admit it's going to be weird when someone comes and says I met my wife on Facebook. That's going to be a strange day. But I think overall, Facebook is going in a good direction. For all people say, oh, I'm going to leave Facebook and delete Facebook and stuff, the reality we saw in earnings last week that people aren't leaving Facebook, either because they're addicted to it, or they can't. And they just have too much, so Facebook seems to be going in the right direction. I still think we might be waiting for the other shoe to drop. I mean, you mentioned the Delete Facebook campaign. I don't even think it's clear yet how many people who deleted Facebook haven't even reinstalled the app on their phone yet. And maybe those customers are lost for good. It's the number of customers isn't that high. And the thing is I think Facebook can wring its hands for a while, but they have to move forward in a sensitive smart way. And I think they did that yesterday. Well, and I guess they're trying. But anyway, time's up. Come to fortune.com for more Tech Debate. [MUSIC PLAYING]