Ever wanted to tell a friend you had a crush on them, but didn’t want to risk being rejected? Facebook thinks it has the answer.
Channeling its origins as a platform to rate attractiveness, the social media giant launched its own dating service in Canada in November 2018. The app operates much like Tinder or Bumble, but ensures that you won’t see anyone you’re already friends with on Facebook or anyone you’ve blocked.
Now, it’s set up a new feature that allows users to test the waters with people in their pool of friends.
The expansion—named Secret Crush—will allow Facebook Dating users to pick up to nine friends they’d like to link up with romantically. If a person is selected on a Secret Crush list, they will receive a notification saying “a friend added you as a secret crush.” If that individual then picks the same person from their own friend list, Facebook will match them together and reveal their names. In the event that those affections are unrequited, the lover’s profile remains hidden—and the individual is left in the dark as to which friend surreptitiously wants to bang them.
The move, announced at the social network’s annual F8 developer conference this week, aims to elevate Facebook above other dating apps by leveraging its huge bank of information about a person’s friendships. More than 2.2 billion people use the platform every month, and six new profiles are created every second. While Tinder or Bumble might be great for hooking up with someone new, Secret Crush offers the chance to romantically connect with someone an individual already knows—which, considering that the average user boasts 338 Facebook friends, is no small pool.
Nevertheless, it’s easy to see how the feature could be abused. TechCrunch points out that it’s possible to repeatedly add and remove people from their Secret Crush list until they hit on a match—though individuals can only swap one person a day after inputting the first nine. Some have also raised privacy concerns about telling Facebook—a platform that has repeatedly mishandled personal information—who you’d like to have sex with.
If you’re still keen for an amorous tryst with a long-lost friend, however, the service is available in countries where Facebook Dating already exists—namely Canada, Colombia, Thailand, Argentina, and Mexico, as well as 14 new nations in Asia and South America introduced this week. Only people with a Facebook Dating profile will be able to receive Secret Crush notifications—so don’t keep your fingers crossed for a grand reveal of an undercover lover if you haven’t signed up to the service.
Kate Wilson is the Technology Editor at the Georgia Straight. Follow her on Twitter @KateWilsonSays