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People don’t want Facebook meddling in their dating lives, says Match Group CEO Mandy Ginsberg

Match owns several of the world’s biggest dating sites and apps — including Tinder, and OKCupid — but now has to think of Facebook as a competitor.

Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg stands in front of a graphic depicting dating on Facebook Justin Sullivan / Getty

At its F8 developer conference in May, Facebook announced that it would launch a dating service for long-term relationships. The news freaked out investors in dating juggernaut Match Group, which owns Tinder, OKCupid, and dozens of other dating apps and sites.

On the latest episode of Recode Decode, Match Group CEO Mandy Ginsberg explained why she’s not too worried about the impact of Facebook on her business. Although she acknowledged it would be foolish to write them off as a competitor, Match’s data shows that its users already employ multiple dating apps, and its crown jewel — Tinder — connects with a different demographic.

“Tinder’s our big growth engine, and Tinder tends to skew very young, so 18 to 25. Facebook does not skew that young in general,” Ginsberg told Recode’s Kurt Wagner. “If you’re a 23-year-old and you’re going to be using two or three apps, definitively, we think you’re going to use one of our apps, most likely Tinder.”

On top of that, Ginsberg said, “5 percent or less” of Match’s revenue comes from advertising, a stark contrast to Facebook’s 98.5 percent. She pointed out that that might assuage some consumers’ concerns about privacy.

“People have to come to us and realize that we’re not going to expose their information, we’re not going to sell their information, and that they have to feel confident because dating is highly, highly personal,” she said.

“It used to be, prior to last year, that if you joined Tinder, you had to join through Facebook,” Ginsberg added. “When given the option for new users coming through, 75 percent of people said, ‘I’d just rather use my phone and not use Facebook,’ even though it was the second option and Facebook was the big option on top. So it was clear that they wanted to separate their dating world from their Facebook world.”

You can listen to Recode Decode on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Pocket Casts, Overcast or wherever you listen to podcasts.

On the new podcast, Ginsberg also talked about Match Group’s contentious public relationship with Bumble and its CEO Whitney Wolfe; after Match sued Bumble over allegedly infringing on its patent for swiping and unlocking communication, Wolfe responded with a full-page ad in the New York Times decrying “attempted scare tactics” and “your multiple attempts to buy us, copy us, and, now, to intimidate us.”

“It bothered me only because when people know me and meet me and especially have worked with me, they know that I have integrity, and certainly the last thing in the world you’d ever call me is a bully, for sure,” Ginsberg said of the NYT ad. “But it’s also, you know, this is a highly competitive space.”

She noted that, despite that ad and the counter-lawsuit Bumble filed against Match Group in its aftermath, she still admires and respects Wolfe, who co-founded Tinder in 2014.

“I think as a female leader in technology — and I have been in the industry a long time,” Ginsberg said. “There’s not been a lot of women in the category. So it’s nice to see. And I think that, given what she’s done with this brand, [she’s] done a really nice job.”

“Fame, money, all that stuff, doesn’t matter at the end of the day,” she added. “You have to have integrity. ... Businesses and deals will come and go, but you’ve got to make sure in the market that you’ve got, that people trust your word and you’re not playing games.”

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