Priscilla Chan and Mark Zuckerberg.
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  • Facebook is adding a "secret crush" feature to its Facebook Dating tool.
  • It will allow users to discover if they and their friends have mutual crushes on each other.
  • Facebook Dating is also expanding to more than a dozen new countries - but not South Africa.
  • For more stories, go to Business Insider SA

Facebook wants to help you hook up with your friends.

A year after the US social networking giant announced Facebook Dating, a tool for finding potential dates, it has now announced "Secret Crush" - a new feature for figuring out which of your friends might be open to romantic overtures.

Facebook Dating is also rolling out to a more than a dozen new countries, the company announced at its annual F8 conference on Tuesday, bringing the total up to 19 - including Canada, Mexico, Colombia, Argentina, Brazil, Peru, Chile, Bolivia, Ecuador, Paraguay, Guyana, Uruguay, the Philippines, Vietnam, Thailand, Singapore, Malaysia, Laos, and Suriname

The announcement comes as Facebook attempts to move past two years of scandals and crises, from Cambridge Analytica's misappropriation of tens of millions of users' data to the social network's role in spreading hate speech that fuelled genocide in Myanmar.

Facebook Dating is the company's answer to Tinder, and when it was announced in May 2018, Facebook - reeling from privacy scandals - emphasised that users' dating profiles would be kept completely separate from their existing Facebook profiles.

That wall is now coming down - just slightly.

"Secret Crush" lets users of Facebook Dating select nine of their Facebook friends who they "want to express interest in." If the admired friend also uses Facebook Dating, and has also selected that person back, then they'll be notified that they're each others' crushes; if not, nothing happens, and they're none the wiser.

The rationale seems to be to try and spark romantic connections between existing friends where there's a potential connection, while avoiding any awkwardness or discomfort that could be caused by disclosing unrequited feelings.

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