Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg unveiled plans for a new dating feature in a speech at Facebook's annual developers conference in California. (Photo: Reuters)
Facebook chief Mark Zuckerberg announced Tuesday that the world's largest social network will soon include a new dating service.
"This is going to be for building real, long-term relationships, not just hook-ups," Zuckerberg said as he unveiled the plans at Facebook's annual developers conference.
Zuckerberg said the new dating feature was built from the ground-up with privacy and safety in mind -- as the social network reels from the revelation of a mass breach involving the personal data of tens of millions of its users.
"People already use Facebook to meet new people, and we want to make that experience better," the California-based titan said in a statement.
"People will be able to create a dating profile that is separate from their Facebook profile -- and potential matches will be recommended based on dating preferences, things in common, and mutual friends."
After setting up a distinct and private dating profile, user will be able to check out groups or events where they live along with profiles of other Facebook members who are taking part.
In presenting the new feature, Zuckerberg noted that one-in-three marriages in the United States start online, and that some 200 million people on Facebook identify as being single.
Facebook's developer conference comes as the giant faces global scrutiny over the mass harvesting of personal data for use by a British political consultancy, Cambridge Analytica, which worked for Donald Trump's 2016 election campaign.
"We need to make sure that never happens again," Zuckerberg told the audience packed with software developers, as he underscored the firm's commitment to boosting privacy protections.
Facebook has admitted up to 87 million users may have had their data hijacked in the scandal, which saw Zuckerberg grilled at length by the US Congress last month.