Facebook launches dating service in Ireland

The social media giant is hoping to emulate the success of Tinder, Hinge and Bumble.
Facebook launches dating service in Ireland

Concerns about data protection delayed the dating service's launch. Picture: Yui Mok/PA Wire

Facebook’s dating service has launched in Ireland and across Europe as a dedicated space to find relationships on the social network.

First tested in 2018 and introduced in the US last year, Facebook Dating is an opt-in service where users create a separate profile and interact with others away from their main Facebook page.

The social media giant hopes to emulate the success of apps such as Tinder, Hinge and Bumble, which have millions of users across their platforms.

Data protection

The feature was initially due to be released earlier this year, but was delayed after a documentation timing issue with its lead EU regulator, the Irish Data Protection Commission (DPC).

Facebook said Dating had been built with “safety, security and privacy at the forefront”.

“We worked with experts in these areas to provide easy access to safety tips and build protections into Facebook Dating, including the ability to report and block anyone, as well as stopping people from sending photos, links, payments or videos in messages,” the company said.

“We won’t suggest current Facebook friends as potential matches or notify them that you’ve joined Dating. For example, your Dating profile, Dating messages, and who you like or match within Dating won’t appear on your Facebook News Feed.

“We’re committed to making Facebook Dating a place where people feel comfortable looking for a date and starting meaningful relationships.” 

The Dating feature also enables users to share Stories from Facebook or Instagram onto their dating profile and includes the Secret Crush tool, which lets users select up to nine of their existing friends from the network that they’re interested in.

If that person adds you to their own Secret Crush list, they will be matched, but if they don’t create a list or add the first user to it, that information will not be shared.

Once matched, users can go on virtual dates via the platform, using video calls built into the Dating feature.

Common groups and events of interest can also be used to find a match by opting them into Facebook dating.  

The social media giant said that since its launch more than 1.5 billion matches had been made in the 20 countries where the feature is available. 

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