Facebook launches dating app in the UK

Facebook Dating was launched in the United States in September last year Credit: The Creative Exchange/Unsplash

Facebook has launched its dating service in over 30 European countries, including the UK.

Facebook Dating, an "opt-in" platform within the Facebook app, will rival existing services like Tinder and Bumble.

The popular dating apps have reported a spike in users as physical social interaction plummeted during the pandemic.

Facebook Dating was launched in the United States in September last year. It then expanded to 20 countries in South America and east Asia.

The social media site delayed the European rollout after Ireland’s Data Protection Commissioner (DPC) raised concerns. The DPC is the European Union's main regulator for a group of the world's biggest technology firms.

It cited short notice, saying it was told about a February 13 launch date on February 3. According to the DPC, Facebook also did not provide documentation regarding data protection impact assessments or decision-making processes.

Social media firms have faced ongoing scrutiny over their monitoring and removing of both misinformation during the pandemic. Credit: PA

What features does Facebook Dating have?

  • Daters can share their Facebook and Instagram stories to their profiles

  • A "secret crush" feature lets users select Facebook friends or Instagram followers know they're interested in dating. Unless both parties select each other, the initial selection remains anonymous

  • Users can see if others have similar Facebook events and groups to them

  • A video chat feature allows for "virtual dates" if coronavirus restrictions mean meeting in person is difficult

Facebook has said users can choose to create a dating profile. They can also delete it at any moment without deleting their Facebook accounts.

It said daters' first names and ages will be extracted from their Facebook profiles and cannot be edited in the dating service. Last names will not be displayed and users can choose whether to share other personal information on their profiles.