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When Facebook announced it will be diving into the online dating business, it seemed like an untimely move for a company facing criticism for not respecting users' privacy. But according to data collected by user research firm Alpha, the majority of Facebook users who already use a paid or free dating app would be interested in an online dating service from the company.

Expand chart
Data: Alpha; Note: Survey conducted May 22, 2018 amongst 606 people who had used Facebook in the past 3 months and a dating app in the past 12; Chart: Andrew Witherspoon/Axios

Why it matters: Given Facebook’s beginnings — as an online student directory after a “Hot or Not” variant was shut down by Harvard — it’s not a surprise the social network giant wants to help users pair up.

The data:

  • Facebook users who use a paid dating app: 43% said they’d be “extremely interested” (or a rating of 5) in a Facebook dating service, and 32% said they’d be interested (or a rating of 4).
  • Facebook users who use a free dating app: 31% said they’d be “extremely interested” (or a rating of 5) in a Facebook dating service, and 28% said they’d be interested (or a rating of 4).

Survey respondents, who were shown a mockup of the Facebook dating feature, also said that they expect Facebook to be roughly as good (35%), somewhat better (28%) and better (21%) than other apps at helping them find a romantic match.

  • Most also said they were likely to let Facebook use its facial recognition tech to help them avoid bots and fraudsters on the dating service.

But, but, but: There's often a gap between what people say they would use (and pay for) and their actual behavior, so this survey's findings are theoretical.

Methodology: Alpha collected data from 606 people in the U.S. on May 22 who have used Facebook in the past 3 months and a dating app in the past 12 months.

Go deeper

Former Sen. David Perdue to launch bid for Georgia governor

Photo: Megan Varner/Getty Images

Former Senator David Perdue (R) plans to announce a campaign against Georgia's incumbent Republican Gov. Brian Kemp Monday, according to a source familiar with Perdue's thinking.

Why it matters: Perdue's challenge to his former ally Kemp sets up an unprecedented "scorched earth" battle between Georgia Republicans fueled by former President Donald Trump, in the battleground state. The news was first reported by Politico.

Updated 53 mins ago - Politics & Policy

Bipartisan tributes flood in for "giant of the Senate" Bob Dole

Then-Vice President Joe Biden and former Sen. Bob Dole at an event put on by the World Food Program where he was awarded the first “McGovern-Dole Leadership Award” in December 2013. Photo: Douglas Graham/CQ Roll Call

Republican and Democratic politicians, including former Senate colleagues, are sharing condolences and memories commemorating the life of Bob Dole, who passed away at 98 on Sunday morning.

The big picture: Dole, the Republican presidential nominee in 1996, was the longest serving Republican leader in the Senate until 2018, when current Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell surpassed his record.

Former Sen. Bob Dole dies

Former Sen. Bob Dole in 2019. Photo: Tom Brenner/Getty Images

Former Kansas Sen. Bob Dole passed away Sunday morning at the age of 98, the Elizabeth Dole Foundation announced in a statement.

Driving the news: Dole, a revered figure in U.S. politics and the Republican presidential nominee in 1996, served in the Senate for 27 years, including 11 years as GOP leader. Earlier this year he revealed he had been diagnosed with stage 4 lung cancer.