Popular dating app Tinder plans to add a number of safety features to its platform in an effort to protect its users.
The new features will include a panic button, location tracking and photo verification. Tinder said it will roll out the new features in the US on the 28th of January, but did not say when they would become available globally.
Match Group, the company that owns Tinder and a number of other dating apps, said it aims to introduce the features to its other dating platforms later this year.
The safety features will be powered by Noonlight, a tech firm that provides online emergency responses services and personal safety products. According to the Wall Street Journal (WSJ), Match Group has taken a stake in Noonlight.
With Noonlight’s technology, Tinder users will be able to trigger an alarm that will alert emergency services and transmit their precise location.
After hitting the panic button the user will be instructed to enter a code, if they fail to do so one of Noonlight’s dispatchers will send them a text message. If they do not respond to the message Noonlight will phone them, then if they do not pick up Noonlight will contact the police.
To use the feature the user will have to grant the app access to their real-time location. Match Group has said this data will not be used for marketing and will not be shared with Match Group.
Users that opt in will be able to add a display badge to their profile to indicate they are using the service. Match Group said they hope this will also act as a deterrent to users looking to cause harm to other daters.
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Speaking to the WSJ , Match Group chief executive, Mandy Ginsberg, acknowledged there was always a risk of an alarm being triggered mistakenly but said: “The false positives, believe me, we took them into account.
“If someone doesn’t respond, worst case someone shows up and knocks on the door. It’s not the worst thing in the world.”
The app will also be adding a photo verification feature that uses human-assisted Artificial Intelligence (AI) to help users avoid ‘catfishing’. Users will be asked to verify their identity by taking several real-time selfies.
Ginsberg said that the Match Group will be the first company to invest in an emergency response service.
“A safe and positive dating experience is crucial to our business,” she said. “We’ve found cutting-edge technology in Noonlight that can deliver real-time emergency services – which doesn’t exist on any other dating product.”