Facebook said on Wednesday it is launching its dating service in 32 European countries after the rollout was delayed earlier this year due to regulatory concerns.
“We’re launching Facebook Dating in Europe to help more people find meaningful relationships through things they have in common, like interests, events and groups,” the company said in a statement. Facebook Dating is an opt-in service that lets members of the social network find romantic partners, though, crucially, the feature won’t match individuals with their existing friends, the company added.
The Facebook dating — a dedicated, service launched in the US last year after initially being announced in 2018. It is currently available in 20 other countries. Its expansion to Europe brings big-name competition to market leaders Bumble, Badoo and Match Group’s Tinder and OkCupid.
The social media company had postponed the rollout of Facebook Dating in Europe in February after concerns were raised by Ireland’s Data Protection Commissioner (DPC), the main regulator in the European Union for a number of the world’s biggest technology firms including Facebook.
The DPC had said it was told about the February 13 launch date on February 3 and was very concerned about being given such short notice.
It also said it was not given documentation regarding data protection impact assessments or decision-making processes that had been undertaken by Facebook.
The first names and ages of users in their dating profiles will be taken from their Facebook profiles and cannot be edited in the dating service, Orseth said, adding that users’ last names will not be displayed and that they can choose whether to share other personal information on their profiles.
A pandemic-friendly feature on Facebook Dating is its “Virtual Dates” section, which lets matches video chat with each other. The company said privacy is preserved, with romantic activity kept out of a user’s public timeline by default.
In a blog post on Wednesday, Kate Orseth, Facebook Dating’s product manager, said users can choose to create a dating profile and can delete it at any time without deleting their Facebook accounts.