Facebook’s dating feature raises EU concerns but its Pinterest clone is live

Facebook has had to delay the launch of a dating feature set to rival Tinder due to privacy concerns from the European Union.

The social network called a halt to the rollout in Europe after it failed to appease the Irish Data Protection Commission over privacy.

Because Facebook is based in Ireland, the Irish authority takes the lead for all EU-related privacy laws and, according to a statement on its website, is not very impressed with Facebook’s actions.

‘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. 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.

‘In order to expedite the procurement of the relevant documentation, authorised officers of the DPC conducted an inspection at Facebook Ireland Limited’s offices in Dublin on Monday last, 10 February and gathered documentation. Facebook Ireland informed us last night that they have postponed the roll-out of this feature.’

Under the GDPR, firms planning to introduce new data processing on a large scale that could have an impact on their data subjects must carry out a Data Protection Impact Assessment (DPIA) to show all concerns have been addressed. Facebook not turning over its DPIA would rightly cause the authority some concern.

Facebook initially announced its plan to launch a dating feature in May 2018 and has been trialling it in a few countries for the last few years. It’s active in Colombia and parts of Asia as well as the United States.

Despite the red light when it comes to dating, Facebook has pressed ahead with another initiative. The company has quietly announced a photo-sharing app called Hobbi that lets users collate photos of projects into collections so they can track them over time.

If it sounds familiar, it’s because that’s exactly what Pinterest does.

As reported by The Information, Hobbi has been quietly released into the iOS App Store in Colombia, Belgium, Spain and Ukraine. If the app performs well, then there’s a chance we could see it eventually launched in the UK.