Facebook Dating Shoots Cupid’s Arrow Across 32 Countries in Europe

Regulators put the kibosh on its original debut day just prior to Valentine’s Day

Facebook Dating was initially introduced at F8 2019 Facebook

Facebook Dating officially rolled out this week in 32 countries in Europe after the social network’s original plans for a pre-Valentine’s Day debut in the region were squashed by regulators.

The original European debut day of Feb. 13, the day before Valentine’s Day, was put on hold after the Irish Data Protection Commission expressed concerns over the fact that it did not receive notice of the planned rollout until Feb. 3, and that Facebook did not provide additional information or documentation regarding Facebook Dating’s impact on users’ data and the decision-making process behind bringing it to Europe.

Facebook falls under the IDPC’s domain due to its European headquarters being located in Dublin.

Facebook Dating was initially introduced at F8 2019 in May 2019, and it debuted in the U.S. last September.

Product manager Kate Orseth said in a Newsroom post that since Facebook Dating’s debut, over 1.5 billion matches have been created in the 20 countries where it was available prior to this week.

Users who are interested created separate profiles for the dedicated, opt-in space within the social network’s flagship application, and features in Facebook Dating include:

  • A version of Stories that enables people to share moments from their everyday lives with the hopes of finding connections over common interests.
  • Secret Crush, which lets people choose up to nine existing Facebook friends or Instagram followers who they are interested in and, only if those people also use the Secret Crush feature, see if there are any matches. If a person on the list is not on Facebook Dating, doesn’t create their own Secret Crush list or doesn’t add the list creator to their list, they will not know about being included on the list.
  • Facebook Dating users can add their existing events and groups from Facebook to their Facebook Dating profiles.
  • A Virtual Dates feature enables matches who are ready to video chat to do so by clicking on the video icon in their text chats, which will send an invitation. First names and dating profile photos will be displayed when the call starts.

Countries that got access to Facebook Dating this week are: Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Croatia, Cyprus, the Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Ireland, Italy, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Latvia, Malta, the Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland and the U.K.

They join the 20 markets where it was already available: Argentina, Bolivia, Brazil, Canada, Chile, Colombia, Ecuador, Guyana, Laos, Malaysia, Mexico, Paraguay, Peru, the Philippines, Singapore, Suriname, Thailand, Uruguay, the U.S. and Vietnam.

Orseth also provided details about Facebook Dating’s controls and security options in a separate Newsroom post.

She stressed that Facebook Dating is completely opt-in, and Facebook Dating profiles can be deleted at any time without affecting the main Facebook account.

By default, Facebook Dating profiles contain the first name and age from users’ Facebook profiles, and these cannot be edited.

However, users have the choice of sharing other information, such as hometown, occupation and religion. Facebook Dating users can also choose to use a gender identity different than the one on their main Facebook profiles, and Orseth said gender identities and preferences are not displayed on Facebook Dating profiles.

Facebook Dating users can opt to see potential matches who are members of the same groups they are in or interested in the same events, and when that suggested matches option is turned on, they may appear as suggested matches for others in those groups or events.

david.cohen@adweek.com David Cohen is editor of Adweek's Social Pro Daily.