#Privacy: Facebook Dating launch delayed following inspection by Irish watchdog

Facebook has been forced to postpone the launch of its new dating feature in Europe, following a last minute inspection from the Irish Data Protection Commission (DPC). 

After not being informed about the launch, the DPC had sent agents to Facebook’s Dublin office. 

“We were very concerned that this was the first that we’d heard from Facebook Ireland about this new feature, considering that it was their intention to roll it out tomorrow, 13 February,” the Irish Data Protection Commission said in its statement

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

However, Facebook said it had completed the necessary papeworks: “We worked carefully to create strong privacy safeguards and complete the data-processing impact assessment ahead of the proposed launch in Europe, which we shared with the [regulator] when it was requested.”

Facebook Dating, which was set to launch today, would allow users to opt in to creating a dating profile only visible to non-friends who also opted in. The feature was first tested in Colombia, and gradually added to other countries including South America and Asia. 

The feature was also launched in the US last Autumn, to which shortly after the Federal Trade Commission fined Facebook.

The DPC currently has 11 open investigations into Facebook and its numerous subsidiaries, and is expected to reach a decision on whether Facebook’s WhatsApp violated European privacy laws. 

Graham Doyle, DPC’s head of communications told TechCrunch: “We’re currently reviewing all the documentation that we gathered as part of the inspection on Monday and we have posed further questions to Facebook and are awaiting the reply.”

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