Not great news for Facebook. Facebook has been forced to withdraw a planned rollout of Facebook Dating in Europe after Irish data protection regulators stepped in. The service was to launch in time for Valentine’s Day, but Facebook pulled the plug after officials raised concerns about its compliance with EU law.
Facebook Dating is a rival to Tinder and OKCupid, that would use the combined power of Facebook, Instagram and WhatsApp to help people connect. You can use Instagram stories as dating pictures and list secret crushes just in case they like you as well. Facebook had initially said that it would be coming to Europe in “early 2020.”
However, Europe’s privacy law, the GDPR, requires companies to look at the potential effects of how they process data. If a business wants to do some dating data mashing, for running a dating website, it needs to demonstrate that it’s thought the process through. They have to hand over an impact assessment to the local regulator to show the processing is safe and lawful.
And since Facebook’s European HQ is based in Dublin, the Irish Data Protection Commission is the local supervisory authority. So it needed to be told about the plans for Facebook Dating well in advance of the product’s rollout in Europe. Article 36 suggests between eight and fourteen weeks.
However, Facebook only made its notification on February 3rd, saying that it would roll out Facebook Dating on the 13th. “Our initial concerns were around the fact that [Facebook] had only told us on the 3rd, and intended to roll out ten days later,” Graham Doyle, Deputy Data Protection Commissioner at Ireland’s Data Protection Commission.