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Europe cancels on Facebook Dating at the last minute

Facebook’s efforts to muscle in on the territory of Tinder and Match has hit a snag in Europe, following concerns from – you guessed it – data protection authorities.

The new Facebook Dating service had been scheduled to launch in the European Union (and indeed the UK for the time being) on February 13 (today), but the bloc has ruined its Valentines Day.

The Irish Data Protection Commission (DPC) put the kibosh on the launch because it only received ten days notice about the launch. When Facebook did get in touch, it failed to provide key documents, the authority said.

In a statement (via Independent.ie), the DPC said: “We were very concerned that this was the first that we’d heard from Facebook Ireland about this new feature, considering that it was their intention to roll it out tomorrow, 13 February.

“Our concerns were further compounded by the fact that no information/documentation was provided to us on 3 February in relation to the Data Protection Impact Assessment [DPIA] or the decision-making processes that were undertaken by Facebook Ireland.”

For its part, Facebook said it had filled in all of the requisite paperwork, but also claimed to be taking a little more time to ensure the app is ready for Europe. No new launch date has been set for the service, which looks to leverage the billions of users already signed up to Facebook in order to connect users with potential sweethearts.

Debuted at last year’s F8 conference, the company explained that Facebook Dating will live within the main Facebook app and will require participants to fill in a Q&A to get started. Users will then see potential matches in their area. If two people match-up there’ll be an opportunity for a private chat. Users won’t be matched up with their current friends. Thank God.

A Facebook representative told the BBC: “It’s really important that we get the launch of Facebook Dating right, so we are taking a bit more time to make sure the product is ready for the European market.

“We worked carefully to create strong privacy safeguards and complete the data-processing impact assessment ahead of the proposed launch in Europe, which we shared with the [regulator] when it was requested.”

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