Facebook Dating: How to Use, How to Find 'Secret Admirers' and Where It's Available

Facebook has officially launched its own dating service as it attempts to rival Tinder and other popular matchmaking applications.

With the U.S. rollout, Facebook dating is now available in 20 countries, including: Argentina, Bolivia, Brazil, Canada, Chile, Columbia, Ecuador, Guyana, Laos, Malaysia, Mexico, Paraguay, Peru, the Philippines, Singapore, Suriname, Thailand, Uruguay and Vietnam, according to the company. Facebook is planning a European launch early next year.

To use the service, you simply choose to opt-in via Facebook and from there you can create your own Dating profile—which is separate from your main profile—as long as you are over 18 and you have the latest version of the social media app downloaded.

According to the company, you will then be suggested to other Facebook users who have also opted in to the service, based on your preferences, interests and other activity on the platform. In many ways, the service works like the dating app Hinge which allows you to directly message other people without having matched with them through swiping, as in Tinder or Bumble.

"Facebook Dating isn't about swiping or having to wait for someone to like you to get a first chance at reaching out," a press release from the company said. "If you are interested in someone, you can comment directly on their profile or tap on the Like button to let them know. If you aren't interested, you can pass on them."

By default, Dating will not match you with Facebook friends, only friends of friends and strangers. In addition, this activity will not be shared with the rest of Facebook.

However, one of the key new features, known as "Secret Crush," does allow you to match with people you already know, if you choose to use it. With the feature, you can make a list of up to 9 Facebook friends or Instagram followers who you are interested in romantically, and if any of these people have also opted in to Dating, they will receive a notification saying that someone fancies them.

If any add you to their Secret Crush list as well, then both parties will receive a notification saying that there's been 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," Facebook said.

One of the other key features enables people to share details of a date and/or a live location with a trusted person so that they can check-in on the user's safety. In fact, Facebook is keen to stress that safety and privacy were integral to the design of the app.

"Finding a romantic partner is deeply personal, which is why we built Dating to be safe, inclusive and opt-in," a statement read. "Safety, security and privacy are at the forefront of this product. We worked with experts in these areas to build protections into Facebook Dating from the start, 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. These features and others give you more control and peace of mind."

The service will be free to use and Facebook says there will be no ads or in-app purchases.

Facebook Dating
Facebook has just launched a new dating service in the U.S. DENIS CHARLET/AFP/Getty Images