After it was postponed for several months due to data privacy issues, Facebook (FB) launched its dating service across 32 European countries.
The launch of Facebook Dating was expected on 13 February, but the release was delayed after concerns were raised by the Irish Data Protection Commissioner (DPC), who regulates Facebook (FB), as the European headquarters of the company are in Dublin.
The regulator said that “detailed clarifications” about how personal data will be processed on the dating feature have since been issued by the US social media firm.
Kate Orseth, product manager for the dating app, announced the launch on Wednesday, saying the feature would “help more people find meaningful relationships through things they have in common, such as interests, activities and groups.”
In February, it was announced that just a few days before Facebook decided to deploy the service in the European Union, the DPC was made aware of the planned launch.
Regulator officials searched the offices of Facebook and sent to the company a range of questions and complaints, Graham Doyle, DPC deputy commissioner, told CNN Business in a statement Thursday.
In the context of the dating feature, Facebook has given thorough clarity on the processing of personal data, “he said.” “In order to take account of the concerns posed by the DPC, Facebook has provided details of improvements they have made to the product.”
The DPC “will continue to track the product as it launches this week across the EU,” Doyle added.
A Facebook spokesman told CNN Business that, as a result of negotiations with the DPC, there were a variety of “changes and clarifications.”
These included updating the way users sign up for the app to understand that Dating is a Facebook product protected by its terms of app and privacy policies for members.
Developers have made it easier for users to pick the pieces of personal data are displayed on their profiles, such as religious views.
The company also explained that when signing up, users must allow location information to be collected, but can then turn it off, and dating would show where a user is at a city level, not an exact location.
The Facebook spokesman added that special category data, which is personal data that is especially sensitive, may be collected in the dating feature, but will not be included in the core Facebook product.
In September 2019, Facebook Dating was launched in the United States. Any user of Facebook can “opt in” to the service and create a dating profile that can fit users if they want, based on interest, interests, and friend group.