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Facebook is finally ready to bring romance to the romance languages.

After a nine-month delay, Facebook Dating launched yesterday in Europe, offering users in 32 countries a fresh way to link-up.

Social Media Matchmaker
Facebook Dating has been playing virtual Cupid in the U.S. since 2019, but plans for a Valentine’s Day launch in Europe this year fell through.

After being informed of Facebook's launch at the 11th hour, Ireland's Data Protection Commissioner (Facebook's primary supervisor in the EU) demanded the social network provide "detailed clarifications" on how personal data would be processed.

Facebook ultimately made several product tweaks in the spirit of transparency. The biggest change, analysts say, is Facebook will no longer use daters' religious and sexual orientation information for ad targeting purposes.

Free To Use: Unlike other dating apps such as Tinder and Bumble, Facebook's Dating feature is free to use with no premium offering. Here are the product highlights:

  • Zuckerberg and Co. will use their vast trove of consumer data to help daters find a match with similar interests.
  • A neat feature called "Secret Crush" allows users to select up to nine Facebook friends or Instagram followers they have a romantic interest in. Selections remain a secret unless there is mutual interest - triggering a match notification.

The Dating Game
With the live dating scene going through a rough patch worldwide, apps have picked up the slack:

  • Match Group – home to Tinder and Hinge – announced last month it has eclipsed the 10 million subscriber threshold, up 11% year-over-year.
  • A survey by Virgin Media released this month found virtual dating has increased 36% during the lockdown, and 6 out of 10 people said they like the “new dating normal.”

And first impressions are still everything – the survey found digital daters can tell if they have a love connection within 30 seconds of a video chat.

The Takeaway: Facebook says it has already created 1.5 billion dating matches, whatever what means. 

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