Starting next month, dating app Hinge will begin rolling out a new profile verification feature to combat a surge in fake accounts. Dubbed “Selfie Verification,” the feature will prompt users to upload a video of themselves, which the app, with a combination of machine learning and human oversight, will use to confirm they look like the person pictured in their profile. People who complete the process will get a “Verified” badge on their dating profile.
Hinge parent company Match Group told Wired, the first publication to report on the feature, that Selfie Verification would roll out to all users by December. “As romance scammers find new ways to defraud people, we are committed to investing in new updates and technologies that prevent harm to our daters,” Hinge spokesperson Jarryd Boyd told the outlet.
The feature comes after Wired writer Lauren Goode wrote about her experience with Hinge’s many bots. The app, like many other dating platforms, is rife with fake accounts, and the real people behind them will often attempt to scam their matches out of money. For instance, “pig butchering,” one of the more popular online dating schemes, frequently sees victims tricked into “investing” their money into fake cryptocurrency platforms. As Gizmodo points out, online dating scams aren’t new, but they’ve become more prevalent since the start of the pandemic. In February, the Federal Trade Commission issued a warning to online daters, noting that people reported losing a record $547 million in 2021 from online dating fraud.
How much Selfie Verification will help protect Hinge users from such scams and catfishing more broadly is hard to say. Other Match Group apps, including Tinder, already employ similar features. On those platforms, users aren’t required to verify their identity, and you still see plenty of fake accounts.