Facebook’s Secret Crush Feature Is Promising To Take The Pain Out Of Fancying Friends

Love on Facebook?

by Emily Watkins |

We’ve all done it; spent a little too long hovering over their profile picture, reading into a cryptic status or photo caption. They’re in your orbit, and you’ve clocked them at a party or two – Facebook Friend territory, sure, but how to test the water? Alternatively, the 2-night-stand or the repeated make-out buddy – who’s going to broach the topic of something more? Enter Secret Crush, Facebook’s latest feature announced at tech conference F8 last week.

Mark Zuckerberg at F8

Available to users of Facebook Dating – set to expand from five countries to nineteen in the coming months – Secret Crush allows you to nominate up to 9 people on your friends' list to officially crush on. If they’re using the feature, and they’ve nominated you in kind, the programme will notify both parties before you ride merrily into the sunset. If they’ve left you out of their crush list, on the other hand, they’ll never know – a notification that someone has a thing for them will brighten their day, but your name and secret are safe with the algorithm. On the one hand, wildly convenient; on the other, is dating to be transferred entirely to our robot overlords? Isn’t the flutter of nervousness as you pluck up the courage to suggest a coffee part of the joy when they agree? Isn’t the heartbreak when you’ve misread the room part of the rich tapestry of agonising disappointment which peppers adult life? Accident, eliminated – but at what cost?

Instagram account exposes women's most outrageous online dating horror stories


Instagram account exposes women's most outrageous online dating horror stories

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Maybe not so risk-free, after all – commentators have speculated that sneaky users of the feature could trick it into revealing crushes by adding people they suspect rather than those they’re quietly holding a candle for. While Facebook has announced aspects of Secret Crush to anticipate its misuse, including restricting swapping people in and out to once-a-day, there’s no way to stop users from bending the program to suit their own agendas.

It remains to be seen whether Secret Crush is one of those supposedly revolutionary advancements which fizzles to nothing, or the next Tinder; what’s appealing, though, is the scope of the app. While Gen Z is abandoning Facebook in favour of other social media platforms, the network still claims more than 2.3 billion monthly active users as of March 2019. The odds of your crush being online, rather than praying you swipe across their face by chance on another app, are in your favour. Fingers crossed they play by the rules – are you one amongst 9, or the one? As ever, it’s only when you take a relationship offline that its viability becomes discernible. Secret Crush expands the pool, and removes some guesswork. The course of true love, as ever, remains full of pot holes: may the algorithm be ever in your favour.

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