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Illustration: Rebecca Zisser/Axios

With its 2.3 billion active users, Facebook is entering the online dating market.

What's new: The service hasn't been widely released yet but Facebook will soon add the ability for users to share a date's location with friends, an idea generated from user feedback.

How it works: “We didn’t want it to be about gamification or online credits… or other things that wouldn’t happen in person,” Nathan Sharp, who heads Facebook’s dating product, tells Axios.

  • Unlike on some other apps, users can browse other profiles but don't have to match before starting a conversation — similar to what happens in real life when someone has to take a chance and make the first move.

The app is already available to some users in Canada, Colombia, and Thailand, with more countries planned for the near future (Facebook wouldn't say where or when).

  • The company declined to share specific data about current usage, but says that belonging to the same Facebook groups or attending the same events tends to make users more comfortable reaching out to potential matches.
  • It hopes these groups can encourage users to actually set up meetings instead of just chatting indefinitely.

Despite starting with millions of potential users, Facebook’s dating service still faces challenges.

  • Because users have to opt-in, Facebook is asking them to sign up for the service before it actually flips the switch in their city so they can guarantee a sizable dating pool.
  • The company will inevitably have to decide whether — and how — to monetize the app.

The big question: Will disenchanted users want to come back to Facebook for its dating service and share even more personal data about themselves? Sharp thinks they will because a user's dating profile will be separate from their main Facebook profile.

  • But there are still skeptics. "[Millennials are] already having concerns with privacy issues," Justin McLeod, CEO of dating app Hinge, which used to require that users log in using their Facebook account, tells Axios. "So I don't imagine them handing over like the most private part of their lives over to them."

Go deeper: Our special report on the future of dating

Go deeper

Felix Salmon, author of Capital
55 mins ago - Technology

Facebook's scandals have been great for shareholders

Expand chart
Data: YCharts; Chart: Axios

Facebook has been embroiled in scandal for the past five years, and while the specific allegations change over time, a central theme is constant. Given the choice between commercial and moral imperatives, Facebook always seems to choose the option that is best for the share price.

Why it matters: Facebook's stock chart supports that narrative. Since the 2016 scandals alleging that the social network was infiltrated by foreign actors trying to influence the outcome of democratic elections, Facebook's revenues — and its stock — have been soaring.

Biden to tap telecom trio for NTIA, FCC posts

Jessica Rosenworcel. Photo: Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call

President Joe Biden on Tuesday is expected to name Alan Davidson as head of the telecom arm of the Commerce Department, Jessica Rosenworcel as chairwoman of the Federal Communications Commission and Gigi Sohn as a commissioner at the FCC, according to a person familiar with the process.

Why it matters: Internet availability and affordability has been a key policy priority for the White House, but the administration lagged in tapping people for the agency posts that oversee the issues.

3 hours ago - Technology

Facebook seeks fountain of youth

Data: Piper Sandler Taking Stock With Teens Study; Chart: Axios Visuals

Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg on Monday said that the company is pivoting its strategy to focus on young adults, following reports that teens have fled its apps.

Why it matters: A series of stories based on leaked whistleblower documents suggest the company sees the aging of its user base as an existential threat to its business.