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It's easy to dismiss Dating as Facebook copying Tinder, just like it ripped Instagram Stories from Snapchat.But that analysis misses an important reality: Dating apps like Tinder have long relied on Facebook's data to operate their service in the first place.One day he sent me a message and gave me his mobile number.

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Tinder’s reliance on Facebook became painfully clear a month ago, when the dating app temporarily stopped working because of changes Facebook made to its data-sharing policies.And now Tinder, as well as apps like it, will have to compete with Facebook itself—an app everyone is already using.You can only send text-based messages when chatting for the first time, which Facebook describes as a safety measure.Facebook will use a unique algorithm to match you with potential dates, based on “dating preferences, things in common, and mutual friends.” You will also be able to find romantic interests via shared Groups and Events.It’s hard not to immediately notice that Dating looks eerily similar to predominant existing dating apps, like Tinder, Hinge, and Bumble.

Which means that in one sense, Facebook is again looking for success through imitation.We’re surprised at the timing given the amount of personal and sensitive data that comes with this territory," Mandy Ginsberg, the CEO of Match Group, said in a statement."Regardless, we’re going to continue to delight our users through product innovation and relentless focus on relationship success. Facebook’s entry will only be invigorating to all of us.”"Come on in. Their product could be great for US/Russia relationships," Joey Levin, the CEO of IAC, Match Group's parent company, added.Until recently, you couldn't even sign up for a Bumble account if you didn't already have a Facebook account.It's not unreasonable to wonder whether these apps would even exist without the social network.The Dating announcement comes at a strange time for Facebook.