Facebook Dating Launches in Europe After Eight Month Delay

Written by Dominic Whitlock

Facebook has finally launched its highly anticipated online dating service in the United Kingdom and across the rest of Europe.

The feature was first released in Colombia just over two years ago, and since been slowly rolled out to 19 other countries in The Americas and Asia. This includes the United States and Thailand, where more than 1.5 billion matches have been made so far.

The social media giant first tried to launch Dating in Europe the day before Valentine’s Day, but was blocked by the European Union over concerns about privacy laws. Independent regulators the Irish Data Protection Commission (DPC) had not received the necessary paperwork with enough notice to clear the product.

At the time, a Facebook spokesperson said that the plans were being delayed to make sure they “get the launch of Facebook Dating right”.

It appears that those issues have now been addressed. However, Graham Doyle, deputy commissioner of the DPC, has stated that he will keep an eye on the feature in the near future.

To help support singles during the COVID-19 pandemic, Facebook introduced video calls to Messenger, which could also be used by people who had matched on the Dating platform.

One of the unique features that users will get access to in Europe is ‘Secret Crush’. Although Facebook is adamant that Dating will be separate from the main social media platform, it is giving daters the opportunity to match with their current friends. 

They can choose nine connections that they are potentially interested in dating, but this won’t be visible unless the other person has also added them to their ‘Secret Crush’ list.

Match Group CEO Shar Dubey explained at the WSJ Live Tech conference last week that  Facebook’s foray into the online dating industry isn’t slowing down the growth of her company.

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