Not-so-happy Valentine’s Day for Facebook as Irish data watchdog scuppers EU rollout of dating feature over privacy concerns

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Facebook has shelved plans to unveil its dating feature across the EU after Ireland’s data protection watchdog raised privacy concerns right before it was due to launch in the bloc, even conducting an ‘inspection’ at its offices.

The feature was launched in the US last September and was due to start being rolled-out in the EU on February 13, just in time for Valentine’s Day. However, on Wednesday Ireland’s Data Protection Commission (DPC) released a statement saying it had only been informed of Facebook’s plans for the EU launch on February 3. 

The agency said it was concerned at the short notice given by Facebook about the new feature. 

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

The DPC – which acts as the main EU data watchdog for tech giants such as Facebook who have their European headquarters in Ireland – carried out an on-site inspection at the social network’s offices in Dublin this week, where it “gathered documentation” on the plans. 

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The agency added that the company had informed it on Tuesday night that it has postponed the scheduled EU roll-out of its dating feature.

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