Remember back in ye olde days when you would poke that cute friend of yours on Facebook? Well, at its yearly F8 conference today, Facebook announced it’s bringing that weird fuck-y energy back to the platform with a new feature called Secret Crush.
The way it works is Facebook Dating users will be able to choose up to nine friends you want to “express interest in.” If your crush also has a Facebook Dating profile, they’ll then get a notification saying someone is hot for them. If you both match, Facebook will reveal your names and the spirit of Mark Zuckerberg will lean back in his chair, waggle his eyebrows, and whisper, “Nice.”
To those of us who have thirsted in the wastelands of dating apps, this should all sound very familiar. It’s similar to the swipe mechanisms used by Tinder and Bumble, with the twist that you’re directly hunting for your next booty call within your real-life social circle. That ought to give it somewhat of an advantage over dating apps, as it opens up the opportunity to sneakily semi-flirt with people you meet in real life. It’s also a way for Facebook to draw more people in. Finding that cutie on OKCupid, Tinder or Bumble can be a crapshoot. Friending them on Facebook and not-so-innocently adding them to your Secret Crush list...ehhhh. Not that much effort for a potentially big payoff.
But, you ask, what about privacy—Facebook’s notorious Achilles heel? Honestly, Facebook’s algorithm probably could probably already make a pretty a good guess about who you want to bone from your list of friends. Still, in its press release, Facebook says if your crush isn’t on Facebook Dating, doesn’t have a Secret Crush list, or just doesn’t put your name on it, your unrequited love will remain a secret. Supposedly.
Wired reports that Facebook says it won’t use data collected from the Secret Crush feature for content, advertising, or its NewsFeed algorithm. Meaning, if you add that hottie with a body to your list, you won’t be bombarded with their selfies, check-ins, or asinine (or clever) status updates. “All activity that occurs in FB Dating stays in FB Dating and will not be shared externally,” a Facebook spokesperson told Wired. Sure, but what about internally? We all trust a site that started as a hot-or-not rating site for horny college students to be totally sensitive with our romantic yearnings, right?
Right now, Secret Crush is only available in areas where Facebook has already rolled out its dating service. That means Colombia, Canada, Thailand, Argentina, and Mexico. As of today, the dating feature is also being made available in an additional 14 countries: Philippines, Vietnam, Singapore, Malaysia, Laos, Brazil, Peru, Chile, Bolivia, Ecuador, Paraguay, Uruguay, Guyana, and Suriname.
Lonely hearts in the U.S., unfortunately (or fortunately) will have to wait. Or you know, pluck up some courage and ask their friends out the old fashioned way—by sadly stalking their social media late at night and hoping they notice you liking all their posts from two years ago.