Facebook Inc. released its nascent dating feature to European users following months of delays caused by the info protection concerns of local regulators.
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 corporate said Thursday.
“We’re launching Facebook Dating in Europe to assist more people to find meaningful relationships through things they need in common, like interests, events and groups,” the corporate said during a statement.
The dating service launched within the U.S. last year after initially being announced in 2018. Its expansion to Europe brings big-name competition to plug leaders Bumble, Badoo and Match Group Inc.’s Tinder and OkCupid.
Its planned February launch in Europe was delayed when officers from Irish Data Protection Commission intervened, saying it had only been given 10 days notice of its roll-out.
Graham Doyle, the deputy commissioner at Irish watchdog, said in an interview within the week that Facebook had since provided “detailed clarifications” on the processing of private data in the context of the dating feature. “We will still monitor the merchandise because it launches across the EU in the week,” he added.
The rollout takes place amid a resurgence of social-distancing rules and city-wide lockdowns across Europe, implemented to regulate the spread of Covid-19. However, in March, popular dating apps said they experienced a surge in users.
A pandemic-friendly feature on Facebook Dating is its “Virtual Dates” section, which lets matches video chat with one another . the corporate said privacy is preserved, with romantic activity kept out of a user’s public timeline by default.