Facebook has set up a dating feature to rival other dating apps in the UK.

Facebook Dating is an opt-in service where users create a separate profile and interact with others away from their main social page.

It also enables users to share Stories from Facebook or Instagram onto their dating profile and includes the 'Secret Crush' tool.

This lets users select up to nine of their existing friends from the network that they're interested in.

If that person adds you to their own Secret Crush list, they will be matched.

But if they don't create a list or add the first user to it, that information will not be shared.

Once matched, users can go on virtual dates using video calls built into the Dating feature due to current restrictions affecting a lot of users.

It was introduced in the US last year and was initially due to be released in the UK earlier this year, but was delayed after a documentation timing issue with its lead EU regulator, the Irish Data Protection Commission (DPC).

It is now available in 20 countries - making more than 1.5 billion matches.

Facebook said Dating had been built with "safety, security and privacy at the forefront".

The company said: "We worked with experts in these areas to provide easy access to safety tips and build protections into Facebook Dating, including the ability to report and block anyone, as well as stopping people from sending photos, links, payments or videos in messages.

"We won't suggest current Facebook friends as potential matches or notify them that you've joined Dating. For example, your Dating profile, Dating messages, and who you like or match within Dating won’t appear on your Facebook News Feed.

"We're committed to making Facebook Dating a place where people feel comfortable looking for a date and starting meaningful relationships."