Contributed by: kellyseal Monday, February 10 2020 @ 06:45 pm
Match Group announced its investment in and partnership with safety platform Noonlight to roll out a series of safety tools across its apps, including a “panic” button for emergencies.
According to Tech Crunch[*1] , the new feature will allow users to discreetly summon emergency services through the app if they are feeling uneasy or need assistance while on a date. The user can input information about their dates, including when and where they are going and with whom. They can then share their location so the app tracks them during the date, and hit a panic button if they feel unsafe. The panic button connects the user with Noonlight’s dispatchers, and if needed, Noonlight will alert emergency responders to their location.
Other new safety offerings include photo verification that uses AI technology, a feature that detects inappropriate messages and allows users to report the sender, and an updated in-app Safety Center. (The app also includes an “undo” feature that asks a user if they are sure they want to send a message that has offensive language.) Users can also add a badge to their profile, notifying their matches that they’ve opted in to Noonlight. Tinder’s CEO likened it to putting a security sign on your front lawn.
With Photo Verification, it will allow users to self-authenticate through a series of real-time posed selfies. These photos are compared to existing profile photos using human-assisted AI technology. A blue checkmark will display beside verified profiles.
Tinder told Buzzfeed that users share their location data directly with Noonlight, not with Tinder, to avoid privacy concerns. Noonlight added that they do not share or sell any data, and only access it in cases of emergency.
Match Group owns some of the most popular dating apps, including Tinder, OkCupid, Match, Plenty of Fish and others, and was called out in a recent report by ProPublica for not conducting background checks on its users – including whether they are registered sex offenders. In fact, most of the 157 incidents of sexual assault involving dating apps per the report found the victims to be mostly women, and most meetings were arranged through a Match Group app.
Safety has been an issue with dating apps for a long time, especially for women, and as more people use them, the risks increase. Popular dating app companies like Match Group had to make a move or potentially put more users at risk.
“A safe and positive dating experience is crucial to our business,” said Match Group CEO Mandy Ginsberg in a statement.
Noonlight Co-Founder Nick Droege added: “Meeting a new person can be an anxiety-inducing event for a myriad of reasons. In working closely with Match Group brands, our goal is to make sure safety isn’t one of those reasons.”
According to Tech Crunch, Tinder did not disclose their investment in Noonlight, but they do hold a board position with the company.
Tinder's own blog post[*2] on this topic of safety features also included some interesting statistics. The Tinder app has been downloaded and installed more than 340 million times. It is also now available in 190 countries and 40+ languages. As of Q3 in 2019, Tinder had almost 5.7 million subscribers and became the highest grossing non-gaming app globally.