The world's largest social network is about to introduce a new way to connect with potential romantic partners that's either genius or downright creepy.
Facebook Dating, the company's dating hub, is launching a feature called Secret Crush that will allow users to select up to nine friends they want to express interest in. Similar to Tinder, it allow users to be matched, but in this case, people are able to cherry-pick those matches ahead of time instead of hoping their profiles show up in the queue.
How Secret Crush Works
If a person adds a user to their Secret Crush list, Facebook will send a notification saying, "A friend added you as a secret crush." If that user adds the same person to their secret crush list, Facebook will then match them together and reveal their names. If there's no match, Facebook will not reveal the users' identities, of course.
The feature will only be available in countries where Facebook Dating is also available, which includes Colombia, Canada, Thailand, Argentina, and Mexico, plus 14 new countries in Asia and South America introduced just now. Those who don't have a Dating profile will not receive Secret Crush notifications.
What exactly is Secret Crush for? Well, for starters, it could help give Facebook a unique advantage over other, more popular dating services such as Tinder or Bumble, both of which don't have information about users' friendships. Tinder is a great app for meeting people outside one's social circle, but there, it's hard to connect with people a user already knows in real life. As Wired notes, Facebook seems to hope that instead of trying to get someone's number, the person will add them on Facebook and then to their Secret Crush list.
Friendster And GoodCrush
Although current dating apps don't offer a similar feature, Secret Crush isn't exactly new. GoodCrush, a dating site that was launched at Princeton University in 2007, also had a very similar concept. Friendster introduced a similar feature in 2012, too.
Secret Crush seems to be the digital version of passing love notes, only less embarrassing especially if the feelings aren't mutual. However, the feature could also be exploited for ill means. For example, one can easily prank or even bully someone by adding them to their secret crush list under false pretenses.
Facebook says it won't use data from Facebook Dating or Secret Crush to target ads or show more of that person's post in the news feed if they've been added to the list.
"All activity that occurs in FB Dating stays in FB Dating and will not be shared externally," a Facebook spokesperson said.