Facebook Announces Secret Crush Feature
Back in 2003, Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg created facemash.com, which was essentially Hot or Not for Harvard students on which his peers' photos were ranked by attractiveness. The fallout almost got him kicked out, but the lessons he learned planted the seeds of the social media juggernaut he would later helm.
You probably saw the movie.
Over the years, Facebook has remained contentious despite (reported) attempts to make its privacy settings more user-friendly while cracking down on junk content and hate speech.
Someone on the Zuckerboard either didn't read up on the company's history or thought this was too cute an idea to ever get backlash.
At a privacy conference earlier this week, Team Zuck announced Facebook Dating - a feature that will allow users to create a separate profile to help them make a love connection.
On the surface, it's not the worst idea in the world. It's similar to several other dating sites, in that it combs through other profiles to match your interests and preferences with other users and generate potential matches.
Here's where it could get weird.
The service will feature an option called 'Secret Crush', which allows users to select up to nine of their friends for whom they may have feelings.
"Secret Crush lets you match with people you are already familiar with," a news release from the company reads.
"We realize that your Facebook friends list expands past just your close friends and that there is an opportunity to find meaningful romantic relationships within your own extended circle. With Secret Crush, you can select up to 9 of your Facebook friends who you want to express interest in. If your crush is on Facebook Dating, they will get a notification saying that someone has a crush on them. If your crush likes you back, 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 — don't fret! If there isn't a match then no one will know that you've entered a friend's name."
Maybe I'm too cynical or paranoid, but I get the feeling this is going to lead to a lot of people getting themselves in trouble, tear friendships or relationships apart, embolden stalkers, or even be used to bully or humiliate people. (Imagine being an awkward teen and the most popular girl or guy in school sending you a crush notification. Danger, Will Robinson!)
This seems like a well-intentioned feature that could potentially blow up in the company's face.
I guess all we can do is grab a tub of popcorn and watch the world burn.