Online dating has gotten a bad rep for being rather unsafe. Despite the many successful relationships born out of matchmaking apps, there are still possible threats posed by online meetings. In late 2018, Facebook has launched its own in-app dating platform Facebook Dating in some countries, which lets users discover potential matches in a safe and controllable way. Today, May 1, the feature officially rolls out to 19 countries, including the Philippines.

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Facebook Dating is designed to minimize, if not eliminate, the dangers of online dating. It's available within the Facebook app and any user can create a separate profile dedicated to Facebook Dating, but it will stay connected to their existing Facebook account to ensure authenticity. According to Charmaine Hung, Technical Program Manager for Facebook Dating, the company is employing all means to spot fake accounts so they can properly deal with them and keep Facebook Dating as safe as possible.

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To ensure privacy, your dating profile will only feature your real first name (no last name) and age. It's up to you if you want to share your location. Plus, the people you meet via Facebook Dating will not be able to access your Facebook account unless you hit it off and decide to give it to them yourself.

Just like other online matchmaking platforms, Facebook Dating matches you with people based on your preferences and interests, but Facebook is also introducing an option that lets users match and meet people going to the same events they're planning to go to, or to match with users in the same groups as them.

Putting an emphasis on giving users control, a lot of its features are opt-in—you can fix your settings accordingly and limit who gets to see your profile. You get a say on whether you want to discover potential matches within your own Facebook communities: events, groups, friends of friends, and more.

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With a design that's reminiscent of the existing Messenger app, Facebook Dating is pretty instinctive. Since it aims to build deeper connections, you'll have to view a profile and really get an idea of who your suggested matches are before deciding whether you want to connect with them or not.

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Already friends with the person (or people, no judgement!) you're crushing on? Don't worry! Facebook Dating has a unique feature that lets you match with people already in your Friends list: Secret Crush.

"If you choose to use Secret Crush, you can select up to nine of your Facebook friends who you want to express interest in. If your crush has opted into Facebook Dating, they will get a notification saying that someone has a crush on them," Hung explains, noting that they will never know who it is unless they match with them. "If your crush adds you to their Secret Crush list, it's a match!"

"Many [users] already use Facebook to start meaningful relationships," Hung says. "We view this as an incredible opportunity to connect people should they choose to explore meaningful romantic relationships."

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This story originally appeared on Spot.ph.

* Minor edits have been made by the Femalenetwork.com editors.

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