The annual F8 developer conference was the perfect opportunity for Facebook to make all the right moves, say all the things that investors and users want to hear and help build user confidence after a torrid few months with regards to the issues with user data privacy. And for once, Facebook went exactly down the path many hoped it would. Focus on privacy, end to end encryption in chats, additional features to Facebook Groups which enhanced user anonymity and so on. But just as everyone perhaps thought Facebook was turning a leaf and genuinely didn’t want to come across as sneaky anymore, it goes ahead and announces a new feature called Secret Crush.
So, how does Secret Crush work? As a Facebook Dating user, you will be able to add up to 9 friends who you may have a crush on. It doesn’t matter if any of the friends who you add to the Secret Crush list already have a Facebook Dating profile or not. But if they do, and if they also have you on their Secret Crush list, both of the users will be notified that they apparently like each other. If the people who you have on the Secret Crush list have still not added you to their Secret Crush list, then Facebook says no one will get to know anything and your secret will remain a secret. Okay, sure.
“People have told us that they believe there is an opportunity to explore potential romantic relationships within their own extended circle of friends. So now, if you choose to use Secret Crush, you can select up to nine of your Facebook friends who you want to express interest in. If your crush has opted into Facebook Dating, they will get a notification saying that someone has a crush on them. If your crush adds you to their Secret Crush list, it’s a match! If your crush isn’t on Dating, doesn’t create a Secret Crush list, or doesn’t put you on their list, no one will know that you’ve entered a friend’s name,” is how Facebook describes the latest initiative in trying to find you the love of your life.
Facebook Dating is Colombia, Thailand, Canada, Argentina, and Mexico and will now also roll out for users in Philippines, Vietnam, Singapore, Malaysia, Laos, Brazil, Peru, Chile, Bolivia, Ecuador, Paraguay, Uruguay, Guyana, and Suriname.
For Facebook, this makes a lot of sense. The addition of Secret Crush to entire more users to try out Facebook Dating. After all, who doesn’t have the urge to see if someone has a crush on them? Facebook has insisted that they won’t be using any of this data to alter the content that you see on the social network or get any advertisements based on that.
Interesting to note that a lot of countries that Facebook Dating is now rolling out in, including the likes of Philippines and Malaysia, have very strict adultery and infidelity laws. Not to say that any Facebook user might be testing the limits of those laws, but those are the sort of countries where you don’t want to get too cocky and share such information with a social network. And remember, this is a company that has been rather liberal, and at times extremely irresponsible, with the data that users have shared with it.
Look, Facebook knows a lot about you. What you post, who you interact with, how much you interact with them, the quality of conversations and more, from all the data it gathers from Facebook, Messenger and Instagram. It probably already suspects who you have a crush on. But why would you want to anyway share the confirmation or denial of that by giving them the actual details about your love interests? It just doesn’t seem right.