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Why Tinder Shouldn't Be Afraid of Facebook

This article was first published by MyWallSt.

In its quest to maintain dominance in the world of social media, Facebook (NASDAQ: FB) has spent the last few years trying to step on the toes of the massively popular dating app Tinder. However, Elie Seidman -- CEO of Tinder since November 2017 -- said last week that the product's prestige among young adults will allow it to withstand competition, even from the world's premier social network.

Last year, after teasing a potential dating product at its F8 developer conference, Facebook began rolling out Facebook Dating in several countries. The results were mixed at best. One of its proposed features, the so-called Secret Crush option, would allow users to assemble a secret list of friends that they were romantically interested in. The function was almost immediately slammed as "creepy" by a host of publications and social media commentators.

Perhaps the most common objection to Facebook Dating is that, on the whole, people like to keep their dating habits something of a secret from the rest of their social circle. This is doubly true of younger people, most of whom are connected with their parents and other family members on Facebook. These attitudes are reflected by a demographic drift in the platform's users: Once a college student in their early 20s, the average Facebook user in the U.S. today is about 40 years old.

Two people holding hands
Two people holding hands

Image source: Unsplash.

As with its recent foray into cryptocurrency, Facebook's biggest advantage in the dating space is the enormous extent of its reach. With more than 2 billion people -- that's nearly one-third of humanity -- using the platform, Mark Zuckerberg and company have a dizzyingly vast reservoir of potential customers to draw from. Throw into the equation the company's large cash flow and data resources, and Facebook remains a formidable rival in just about any digital space you could name.

That said, there is at least one quality Tinder boasts that Facebook no longer really possesses: It is genuinely popular, enjoying the same word-of-mouth virality and "coolness" that Facebook has lost in the last decade. Despite its huge market cap, one could argue that the social network has become a shadow of its former self, emptied of energy, clotted by ads -- a glorified public message board or birthday greeting service. Set against this, Tinder remains a bona fide cultural icon, exerting far more influence on the social lives of millennials than its bigger, older antagonist.

Operated by parent company Match Group (NASDAQ: MTCH) -- the dating giant behind other popular apps such as OkCupid, Hinge, and PlentyOfFish -- Tinder pioneered the swipe function that has since become a staple in social apps.

Despite Facebook's encroachments into the online dating space, Tinder actually boasts highly impressive figures of its own. The app gets more than 2 billion views per day across almost every country on earth (with the average Tinder users opening the app 11 times per day) and claims to be responsible for roughly 1 million dates every week.

"I like our position. We're going to stay very focused on what we're good at," Seidman concluded in his remarks, adding that Tinder's core strength is its popularity with young people, which shows no signs of letting up.

Facebook might have succeeded in copying Snap, but as with other projects like Facebook Portal (a video calling device) or Facebook for Business (that was supposed to kill LinkedIn), we aren't too concerned about the social media giant taking over Tinder any time soon.

MyWallSt logo
MyWallSt logo

Image source: MyWallSt.

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MyWallSt operates a full disclosure policy. MyWallSt staff currently hold long positions in Facebook and Match Group. Read our full disclosure policy here.

More From The Motley Fool

Teresa Kersten, an employee of LinkedIn, a Microsoft subsidiary, is a member of The Motley Fool’s board of directors. Randi Zuckerberg, a former director of market development and spokeswoman for Facebook and sister to its CEO, Mark Zuckerberg, is a member of The Motley Fool's board of directors. The Motley Fool owns shares of and recommends Facebook, Match Group, and Microsoft. The Motley Fool has the following options: long January 2021 $85 calls on Microsoft. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.