Facebook announced that it was rolling its dating service across 32 countries in Europe, a year after it first rolled out in the US. The rollout had been delayed earlier this year due to regulatory concerns.
Facebook Dating in Europe will compete with the likes of Tinder, Hinge, Bumble and Happn. CEO Mark Zuckerberg stated that with the high number of single people listed on the platform, the app is not completely a late bloomer. “There are 200 million people on Facebook who list themselves as single, so clearly, there’s something to do here,” he said.
The platform is created to help the single users find partners through things they might share in common such as groups, interests and events. Those who wish to opt in for the service must set up a different profile other than what exists already on Facebook app. Once they have registered, they can share personal “stories” on their dating profile just like they can on their main Facebook and Instagram accounts.
To prevent fraudulent accounts from registering, the first name and age of users will be extracted from their Facebook profiles and cannot be edited in the dating service. The users can choose to share other information on their profiles and can choose to deactivate the service at anytime without deleting their main Facebook account.
The uniqueness about the Facebook Dating app is the “Secret Crush” feature that allows users to select up to 9 Facebook or Instagram friends they admire or are interested in. If one of the selected 9 also selects you as their crush, the algorithm generates a match.
Unlike other dating apps, Facebook is giving its app free for users with no premium offering. For now, the app does not have feature for video chats. The tech giant said it was in a process to add this feature for users at no extra charge.
The app which was supposed to launch in February 13 was delayed until now because it was given a short notice; the Data Protection Commissioner had said. It was intimated about it on February 3 without a documentation regarding data protection assessment.
The DPC on Thursday mentioned that it would continue to assess the dating product as it launches across the European Union this week. Accordingly, Facebook has effected the changes made by the regulator and provided all details in a document which would be scrutinised by the DPC.
“Facebook has provided detailed clarifications on the processing of personal data in the context of the Dating feature,” Graham Doyle, deputy commissioner of DPC, said.
Overtime, research has shown that many people who sign up on dating sites give false information about their location, age, physical attributes, marital status among many others. This might be a factor that Facebook put into consideration to have set its dating service to harvest already existing information which cannot be edited on the dating service.
Facebook has not guaranteed the safety of users who sign up to the service but you check here for tips to enhance your safety while using dating apps.