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Have a crush on your friend? New Facebook feature helps users connect with their 'secret crush'

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© REUTERS/Stephen Lam Stickers bearing the Facebook logo are pictured at Facebook Inc's F8 developers conference in San Jose, California, U.S., April 30, 2019. REUTERS/Stephen Lam

By Nelson Oliveira, New York Daily News

Facebook friends… with benefits?

The giant social network announced Tuesday it wants to match users with friends they’re secretly interested in.

The new feature, Secret Crush, will be part of Facebook Dating, a separate product within the main Facebook app that is being tested in nearly 20 countries.

With Secret Crush, users who have opted into Facebook Dating can create a private list of nine specific Facebook friends they want to explore a romantic relationship with. If their crush has Facebook Dating, they will be notified that someone has a crush on them.

“If your crush adds you to the Secret Crush list, it’s a match!” the company said in a blog post Tuesday.

If the people on your Secret Crush list do not add you to their own lists, no one will know that you have a crush on them or even that you opted into Facebook Dating, the social network said.

Facebook Dating appears to be the company’s response to dating apps like Tinder and Bumble and a way to keep its more than 2 billion users engaged with the platform. Worldwide, more than 200 million users have listed themselves as single on Facebook, according to the blog post.

Single Americans, however, will have to wait to start creating their crush lists.

Facebook Dating has been tested for several months in Canada, Mexico, Colombia, Argentina and Thailand. This week, it was expanded to 14 new countries, all in South America and Asia.

Fidji Simo, head of the Facebook app, said Tuesday that Secret Crush aims to help people who find it embarrassing to ask a friend on a date.

“Today, Facebook Dating connects you to people you don’t already know, but sometimes you (have) friends on Facebook that you may know more casually — maybe you met them a party a while back and you might want to know if you’re compatible without overstepping or making things awkward,” Simo said on the stage of Facebook’s annual F8 conference in San Jose, Calif.

The announcement was met with some skepticism and even mockery on social media. The company has faced an avalanche of privacy scandals around the world as critics have increasingly called for more government oversight.

But during his keynote speech at F8, CEO Mark Zuckerberg vowed to focus on privacy,

“I believe that the future is private,” he said.

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Technology - U.S. Daily News: Have a crush on your friend? New Facebook feature helps users connect with their 'secret crush'
Have a crush on your friend? New Facebook feature helps users connect with their 'secret crush'
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