NEW YORK—Facebook doesn’t think hookups are

NEW YORK—Facebook doesn’t think hookups are meaningful and doesn’t want you to date your friends—but it’s known for a long time that its vast map of human connections could help people find long-term partners. At least that’s the takeaway from a new dating feature the social networking giant is launching because, well, why not?

After all, Facebook already lets you “poke” people, whatever that means, and lets you broadcast your relationship status. If you ever download all the data Facebook has on you, you’ll see it even keeps track of all the past partners you’ve listed on Facebook, even if this isn’t visible on your profile.

A dating tool has always seemed the next logical step, as Chris Cox, Facebook’s chief product officer, said Tuesday at Facebook’s f8 conference for app developers in San Jose, California. Fourteen years after Facebook’s launch, it’s finally coming.

CEO Mark Zuckerberg said the new dating feature is “not just for hookups” but to build “meaningful, long-term relationships.” That seems a direct swipe at Tinder, which is still best known for hooking people up with people they find attractive by showing their photo, age and first name. Shares of Match.com, which owns Tinder, tumbled on the news.

The Facebook dating profile you’ll create will be separate from your regular Facebook profile. It won’t suggest your friends as people you might want to date, even if your 500-plus “friends” include random acquaintances—or crushes. Your dating profile won’t show up on your news feed or be visible to friends; it’s only for others using the dating service.