According to the regulatory body, Facebook had not given proper information to them about the launch. DPC’s spokesperson Helen Dixon in an interview revealed that Facebook only informed the DPC about the launch of the app on 3rd February. It was surely concerning given the history of Facebook’s data usage policy. And when they didn’t provide any information or documentation related to the Data Protection Impact Assessment grew their concerns even further. Apart from that, Facebook also failed to provide the decision-making processes that were undertaken by Facebook Ireland.
Facebook Dating App
Facebook first announced its plan to jump into the dating app market in 2018. The company did a test launch of their product in Colombia. And since it was successful there, they added more countries into their list.
Facebook launched the dating app in the US in September 2019. However, it faced a lawsuit for historical privacy lapses and had to pay $5 billion to the FTC. Facebook planned the launch of the dating app in Europe by early 2020. However, after the whole controversy, Facebook has postponed the launch of their dating app in Europe.
The DPC sent their agents to Facebook’s Dublin office to obtain the documentation Facebook failed to provide. They were able to take action using the inspection and document seizure powers under Section 130 of Ireland’s law.
Data Protection Act
The DPC put out a statement saying “Facebook Ireland informed us last night that they have postponed the roll-out of this feature.” The DPC is reviewing all the documentation that’s been gathered as a part of the inspection.
Facebook has also put out a statement reflecting on the ban:
“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. 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.”
It is a requirement under Europe’s GDPR for data controllers while conducting DPIA, to bake privacy by design and default into products that are handling people’s information. And for Facebook to think they’re not legally obliged to notify IDPC of a product seems hasty. Whether it is carelessness or foolishness on behalf of Facebook to make such a move is something to think about. But it’s not like the Europeans will never get to use the dating app ever again. It might get a new launch date as soon as everything has been sorted out.