In an effort to make meeting up with (mostly) strangers less risky, Tinder announced Thursday that it's adding a whole slew of safety features, including a panic button that contacts emergency services; photo verification; and an in-app Safety Center with various little tools and tips, like don't give your address to a Tinder match.
Dating violence isn't a problem Tinder invented, but app-based dating has certainly expedited the access people have to each other and the pace at which they can meet. Tinder has been fairly criticized for not providing enough support around situations that lead to murders and sexual assaults.
Starting on Jan. 28, Tinder users can add information about their dates to Noonlight, a personal safety app released by Tinder owner Match Group that tracks location and can act as a silent relay to emergency services. So if you've got plans to meet Matt for drinks at a bar in Greenpoint on Thursday night, you'd add that info to your Noonlight timeline, letthe app track your location. If things go horribly awry, you hit the silent panic button, and the information added to the app about your date as well as your location are released to emergency responders. (Tinder promises it won't have access to this info, and won't use it for eerily targeted marketing tactics.) Users who've linked Noonlight with their Tinder will have a little badge on their profile, which Tinder CEO Elie Seidman told the Wall Street Journal is like having a "lawn sign from a security system."
Photo verification won't roll out until later this year, and will involve taking a series of posed selfies with an in-app camera to prove to some AI that users look the same in real life as they do in their photos. The goal is to cut down on catfishing, but-and I'm no AI expert-theoretically, it will also severely cut down the number of men whose bios are, "don't currently have the beard."
The same features will eventually appear on other Match Group apps, like OkCupid and Plenty of Fish. In the same Wall Street Journal story, Match Group CEO Mandy Ginsberg said, "You should run a dating business as if you are a mom." If that's the case, I'd personally love to see a little nudge from Tinder, as I head out on a date, to "Make good choices!!"Sign up for our newsletter to get the best of VICE delivered to your inbox daily.