New Dating App Hily Sets its Sights on Safer Dating

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Online dating has always held some risk, and in recent years, the challenge of protecting consumers from trolls and unwanted messages has increased. Many dating apps like Tinder are finding themselves at risk to hackers who are creating fake accounts and hacking other users - this in addition to increasing problems with lewd messages. A new dating app called Hily aims to change that trend.

Many dating apps are trying to put more safety measures in place to verify their users. According to an article in TechCrunch, cyber security researchers found that hackers could create a Chrome plugin so that a Tinder user could find the locations of Facebook friends who were also on Tinder (even though they didn’t disclose this information on their social media feeds), a scary thought for online daters who are trying to keep their personal information private.

The lack of security has been especially difficult for young women who use dating apps. More and more are reporting getting trolled or harassed by other users on online dating sites, or sent unwanted messages and photos. This is one of the reasons female-friendly apps like Bumble have become so popular – women have more control of their experience on the app. But verifying profiles has remained a challenge, as hackers have found ways around protections.

With the mounting evidence that the security of dating apps can be breached, Hily founder Yan Pronin decided that the best way to truly verify an online dater was through AI. Pronin has a background in analytics, M&A modeling, dynamic pricing and statistical modeling, so he is very familiar with the opportunities AI presents and wanted to improve the online dating experience by making people feel safer.

Instead of getting an “attractiveness” score and basing matches around how many likes you give and receive, users of Hily get a “risk” score. Risk scores are based on a mix of passing a verification process, how many complaints people log against the user, the depth of dialog that user has with other matches, and the amount of activity of a user on the app. In other words, if it looks like someone might be a troll by their high risk score, the app can block other users from sending their personal information to that particular user.

Hily’s verification process includes ID matching via Facebook (as most dating apps do), but also via photo capture. The app prevents people from uploading photos that have been tampered with.

According to TechCrunch, Hily uses a “machine-learning” algorithm that takes data from your messages, mutual likes with other matches, photos sent, and other ways that online daters interact online. (In theory, the more the person uses the application, the better the matches he or she receives.)

It might sound cynical to assess someone’s risk over their attractiveness in online dating, but if it helps users feel safer, the trend in this direction will continue.

The app is in currently in beta and has about 35,000 users.