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Tinder CEO on Facebook’s dating service: 'They have an interesting set of baggage'

JP Mangalindan
Chief Tech Correspondent

In an exclusive interview with Yahoo Finance on Thursday, Tinder CEO Elie Seidman did not shy away from discussing Facebook’s (FB) dating service, which the social network unveiled earlier this week.

“When you use Facebook, there’s a lot of context, right?” Seidman told Yahoo Finance on Thursday afternoon onstage at the Collision Conference, held in New Orleans. “There’s a lot of ‘ambience.’ That ambience is really specific. It could be kids’ pictures that you’re seeing. It could be knowing about Cambridge Analytica. It could be all of the other stuff they do, and so they have an interesting set of baggage.”

‘Facebook is in a very competitive space’

Some pundits say Facebook is positioned to do well in dating, in part because of its massive user base of 2.2 billion monthly active users to tap into.

Indeed, Since Facebook announced on Tuesday it was getting into the dating space, Tinder’s parent company Match Group (MTCH) has seen its stock drop nearly 21% to $36 per share. However, despite that, Seidman says he’s not particularly concerned, in part because of Facebook’s broader audience and features but also because Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg made it clear during his announcement that Facebook’s dating service is aimed at singles seeking long-term, “meaningful” relationships and not just hook-ups, or “casual dating” — an area Tinder users also flock to the app for.

“Facebook is in a very competitive space,” Seidman said, referring to serious dating.

Seidman also said, “Facebook has lots of things to think about. We have the benefit of thinking about one thing, all day every day.” The Tinder CEO also noted one other key difference between Facebook and his company: Tinder does not rely on advertising and the personal data that comes with that revenue stream. “We don’t have a lot of the data complexity. We don’t sell data,” he said.

Seidman would certainly know about the competition. Before joining Tinder last November as CEO, Seidman ran OKCupid for nearly a year-and-a-half. He took the Tinder role, in part, because of its popularity among the broader 18-34-year-old demographic. Despite a large swath of dating and hook-up apps that have launched since Tinder hit the scene over 5 years ago — many of which have outright copied Tinder’s innovative swiping gesture for matches — Seidman was extremely optimistic Tinder would continue its successful streak.

“How do we rise to the occasion?” Seidman said. “I’m convinced we can do that.”

JP Mangalindan is the Chief Tech Correspondent for Yahoo Finance covering the intersection of tech and business. Email story tips and musings to jpm@oath.com. Follow him on Twitter or Facebook.

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