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    Facebook dating app misses Valentines launch in Europe

    Credit: Flickr/CC0 1.0

    Facebook has postponed the launch of its dating app in Europe following an inspection conducted by the Irish regulator at the offices of the social network in Dublin, a spokesman of the U.S. giant announced on Thursday.

    “We are taking a bit more time to make sure the product is ready for the European market,” the spokesman said, explaining that Facebook wanted to make sure its new app did not cause any problems with regard to the processing of personal data.

    Ireland’s Data Protection Commission (DPC) announced in a press release on Wednesday that it had conducted an inspection at Facebook’s offices in Dublin on Monday and seized some documents. A DPC spokesman told AFP this was the first such inspection at a major technology company since the adoption in May 2018 of the European General Data Protection Regulation, GDPR.

    Facebook’s European headquarters is in Ireland, so it is up to the DPC to enforce the GDPR on behalf of the EU. The Irish regulator explained that the first time Facebook contacted it in connection with its planned dating app was on Monday 3 February.

    The DPC stressed that it had been “very worried” by the fact that that was the first time Facebook was mentioning the new app whereas it planned to launch it on 13 February, just before Valentine Day. Moreover, the regulator received no information or documentation regarding data protection from Facebook with the 3 February notification, prompting it to carry out the inspection at the group’s Dublin office.

    Facebook has been rolling out the dating app in the Americas and in Southeast Asia since last year. The new functionality is already among the world’s top online dating services, Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg said in late January, adding that he expected it to continue growing.

    Oscar Schneider
    The Brussels Times