Facebook delays Europe rollout of dating app after Irish inspection
Facebook said Thursday that it was postponing the European rollout of its new dating app following an inspection of its Dublin office by Ireland's data protection authorities.
"It's really important that we get the launch of Facebook Dating right so we are taking a bit more time to make sure the product is ready for the European market," the tech giant said in a statement to AFP. "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 IDPC when it was requested."
Facebook's European headquarters are in Dublin so it falls under the purview Ireland's Data Protection Commission (IDPC). The IDPC said Wednesday that it had only learned about Facebook's decision to launch its dating app in Europe at the start of the month.
"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 IDPS said in a 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," the IDPS statement said.
"In order to expedite the procurement of the relevant documentation, authorised officers of the (IDPC) conducted an inspection at Facebook Ireland Limited's offices in Dublin on Monday last, 10 February and gathered documentation."
The Data Protection Impact Assessment is a privacy review that social media and internet companies are required to undergo in order to operate in Europe. The assessment is mandated by the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) that went into effect across the European Union in 2018.
A spokeswoman for the data commission said it was the Irish authorities' first inspection of a big tech company under GDPR rules. Dublin is also the European headquarters of Google and several other tech companies.