Safety

New Study Finds Dating Apps Have More Access to Personal Information Than You Think

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Dating app users often don’t realize how much personal information they are giving away just by signing up. But Datingroo, a U.K.-based online dating research company, has released a new study that shows exactly how little privacy most dating app users have.

Datingroo studied the ten most popular dating apps from Tinder to PlentyofFish to eHarmony, examining 45 personal data access points in 13 categories such as precise location, other accounts on the device, network connections, and modification or deletion of the contents on USB storage, and found some surprising results.

Among all the apps, Badoo and PlentyofFish have access to the most data in user’s devices (92% of all access points studied). Combined, they have more than 522 million users worldwide, which means they have access to an enormous amount of information. Coffee Meets Bagel has the fewest users (7 million), as well as the least data access.

Tinder Launches New Safety Feature for LGBTQ Travelers

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Tinder Travel Alert Screen Capture
Image: Tinder

Tinder has announced a new safety feature for those in the LGBTQ community who are traveling abroad.

The new “Traveler Alert” feature allows users to hide their profiles on the app when they feel unsafe traveling in countries and regions that criminalize same-sex acts, according to website Lifehacker. International travelers are subject to the laws of other countries, so it puts LGBTQ folks especially at risk. There are currently 69 countries that persecute same-sex acts, and nine of these allow the death penalty to be imposed, including Saudi Arabia and Iran.

Tinder’s website stated: “It’s important to exercise extra caution if you choose to connect with new people in these countries - as some law enforcement have been known to use dating apps as tools for potential entrapment. Some countries have also recently introduced laws that criminalize communications between individuals on same-sex dating applications or websites and even aggravate penalties if that communication leads to sexual encounters.”

The Meet Group Announces Updates To MeetMe App

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MeetMe adds 1 on 1 video calling
Image: The Meet Group

The Meet Group, the Pennsylvania-based parent to several dating and social networking apps, unveiled two new sets of features for its flagship dating and livestreaming platform, MeetMe.

The first updates focus on making MeetMe a safer, more welcoming and more inclusive space. The iOS and Android versions of the app now have a more prominent Report Abuse button - the largest, according to CEO Geoff Cook, seen in any major livestreaming app so far. When a user taps the button, a screengrab is automatically taken and sent to the company’s moderation team. The moderators can immediately review both the screengrab and the active livestream in order to take appropriate action.

Bumble CEO Speaks Out Against Toxic Culture of Parent Company Badoo

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Bumble CEO Whitney Wolfe
Bumble CEO Whitney Wolfe

Bumble CEO Whitney Wolfe Herd spoke out against parent company Badoo in the wake of allegations made by more than a dozen employees that it promoted a toxic work culture, especially for women.

An exclusive by Forbes revealed allegations made by thirteen former Badoo employees who worked at the company’s London headquarters, citing a sexist office culture with drug-fueled parties, employees naming engineering updates after porn stars, and a widely circulated video of an employee receiving oral sex from a prostitute.

Forbes also said the employees specifically named Badoo owner Andrey Andreev, who also owns a majority stake in Bumble, of making derogatory comments around race and physical appearance.

Bumble Introduces In-App Video and Voice Calls

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Leading the way for major dating apps, Bumble launched an exciting new feature for its platform: in-app video and voice calls. It will soon be available in Bumble Bizz, Bumble BFF and its signature dating app.

The new feature is similar to Facetime, in that you can voice or video call a match directly from within the Bumble app. The ability to make an in-app call will be available only once a match has been made, according to Tech Crunch. In other words, there must be a double opt-in so users won’t be getting unsolicited calls from random users.

Man Pleads Guilty to Sending Threatening Letters to OkCupid HQ

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In late June, a Massachusetts man pleaded guilty to sending threatening letters to OkCupid’s headquarters in Dallas, Texas, in retaliation for banning him from the dating app.

According to a report in The New York Post, Liam MacLeod was banned from the app for repeatedly violating the terms of service back in 2017. The 47 year-old man then began sending threatening letters, some with a “blood-like substance” according to The Post, and others with a “suspicious white powder.” All of the mailings were addressed to OkCupid’s Chief Executive Officer.