Tinder owner Match Group is "flattered" but largely unconcerned about Facebook's newfound ambitions to enter the app dating market, Chief Executive Officer Mandy Ginsberg said in an emailed statement. Ms. Ginsberg admitted the digital dating service firm is "surprised at the timing" of Facebook's announcement that came earlier this week at the latest iteration of the company's annual F8 developer conference, having suggested the social media giant's recent privacy controversies stemming from the Cambridge Analytica scandal make the current climate less than optimal for the launch of an online dating service "given the amount of personal and sensitive data that comes with this territory."
Facebook is already said to have delayed the launch of its first smart speakers due to the data privacy controversy in question, with the screen-equipped devices now being expected to launch in October. The company is understood to have been planning to launch a dating service within its social network months before the Cambridge Analytica ordeal came to light. Irrespective of its timing, Match Group believes "Facebook's entry will only be invigorating" to the digital dating industry as a whole, Ms. Ginsberg said. Besides Tinder, the Dallas, Texas-based company also owns OkCupid, Match, Meetic, and PlentyOfFish, all of which are considered to be some of the world's most popular dating services.
Following Facebook's Tuesday announcement, Match Group stock plummeted nearly 25-percent, having ended Friday trading at NASDAQ south of $35. The company is still likely right to be unconcerned about Facebook's dating push, data compiled by market intelligence firm SimilarWeb suggests. The firm's flagship product — Tinder — grew U.S. subscriptions by 23-percent across all platforms over the final quarter of 2017, with the service performing well across all platforms, meaning a purely app-based challenge from Facebook is likely to be "very difficult" to mount, SimilarWeb says. Tinder is currently installed on 3.1-percent of all Android devices in the U.S., a massive percentage for a single-purpose app. The service recorded 34 million U.S. installs in the past 12 months, whereas rivals Bumble and Happn had seven million and two million over the same period, respectively.
Tinder is also the leading dating app in terms of active users, with 0.64-percent of its installs amounting to daily logins in the country, compared to Bumble's 0.13-percent and Happn's 0.03-percent engagement rates, as per the same source. The app is performing well outside of the U.S. as well, with SimilarWeb estimating it recorded 2.1 million downloads in the United Kingdom over the first three months of 2018 and is presently installed on 3.78-percent of all British Android devices. Facebook's dating service will start rolling out to users later this year, though its initial deployment will be limited in scope as the company wants to further test and optimize the platform before launching it on a worldwide level.