After much anticipation, Facebook has officially released Facebook Dating in the U.S., beginning Sept. 4. In addition to the usual components of its dating app ilk, Facebook Dating has a “Secret Crush” feature that will, as its name suggests, allow you to mark people who you secretly have a crush on. This, of course, presents the obvious follow-up question: can you find out who has a “Secret Crush” on you in Facebook Dating?
Let’s back up a bit. Facebook Dating, which has launched today in the U.S. along with 19 other countries in South America and Asia, will utilize your Facebook info to create a dating profile for you, should you choose to opt-in. With Facebook Dating, Facebook users 18 years and older will be able to opt-in to the service, having the site create a dating profile (which you can edit) that exists separately from your regular Facebook profile. In addition to features like the option to add Instagram photos or see who else is on Facebook Dating on the Events and Groups tabs (which are also opt-in), Facebook Dating includes a “Secret Crush” component.
“Secret Crush lets you match with people you already know on Facebook and/or Instagram,” Nathan Sharp, Product Manager, Facebook Dating, explained in a press release. “By default, Facebook Dating won’t match you with your Facebook Friends, but people told us they were interested in exploring potential romantic relationships within their extended circles, like their Facebook friend list and Instagram followers.” In a dating study Facebook commissioned from independent, global market research firm Edelman Intelligence, 53% of online daters said they “currently have a crush on someone they already know but are too nervous to ask them out.”
Facebook is hoping Secret Crush will help with that. “If you choose to use Secret Crush,” Sharp continues, “you can select up to nine of your Facebook friends or Instagram followers who you’re interested in.” You’ll have to connect Instagram to your Facebook Dating profile to do the latter. “If your crush has opted into Facebook Dating, they’ll get a notification saying that someone has a crush on them,” Sharp writes. “If your crush adds you to their Secret Crush list too, 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—then no one will know that you’ve entered their name.”
In other words: you can only find out who has a “secret crush” on you if they are also on your secret crush list. Then, the two of you will show up as a match. Otherwise, that information will remain entirely private — aside from people being notified someone has a secret crush on them (sans your name) and Facebook knowing who you secretly like.
If the idea of accidentally outing your secret crush causes you concern, Facebook wants to assuage those fears. “All of your Dating activity will stay in Facebook Dating,” the company stated in a press release. “It won’t be shared to the rest of Facebook.”
Given its reputation, Facebook has been upfront about how it indents to maintain Facebook Dating users privacy. “We worked with experts in these areas to build protections into Facebook Dating from the start,” Sharp stated in the press release, “including the ability to report and block anyone; prohibiting people from sending photos, links, payments or videos in messages; and by providing easy access to safety tips.”
“The people who will see your Dating profile are the people suggested to you, the people to whom you're suggested, and the people you add as Secret Crushes,” Erin Egan, VP and Chief Privacy Officer, Public Policy, stated in a release. Egan also assured users that no, Facebook isn’t creating secret dating profiles for all its users. “[W]e won’t create a Facebook Dating profile for your account unless you specifically choose to create one. And you can delete your Dating profile at any time.”