Dating app Hinge is planning to introduce a video profile verification feature to the platform, as first described in a report from Wired. The change is intended to combat the rise of sham and bot accounts on the app. These faux accounts often use fake photos to lure in marks and then attempt to scam actual users out of money, for instance via “pig butchering” schemes that convince victims to invest in phony crypto coins.
“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,” Jarryd Boyd, a Hinge spokesperson, told Wired in a statement. And in an emailed statement to Gizmodo, Boyd said the following:
At Hinge, our team utilizes a series of AI and machine learning tools that proactively remove potentially fraudulent accounts before a user ever sees them or before harm can occur. We also continuously invest in innovative technology and moderation tools to help prevent and disrupt potential harm. Next month, Hinge is rolling out Selfie Verification globally as an additional step to help users confirm the authenticity of profiles.
The company declined to respond to Gizmodo’s questions about the number of fake accounts on the platform, or the specific impetus for introducing the verification feature.
Scams on dating apps and sites have been around for as long as the online platforms themselves, but the number of such grifts shot up rapidly during the pandemic and with the mainstreaming of cryptocurrency, according to the Federal Trade Commission. In 2021, people reported $547 million in losses from online romance fraud— a record number. And Hinge is no exception. An earlier report from Wired catalogued the seemingly growing amount of apparent bots taking over the platform.
Other dating platforms like Bumble, Plenty of Fish, and Tinder—the latter two of which are also owned by Match Group—already have photo-match verification features. On all three apps, verifying your profile requires users to post a selfie. In Bumble, users must mimic a pose assigned by the app. On Tinder and Plenty of Fish, users take a video selfie that is assessed for “liveness” and to ensure it matches profile pictures.
The new Hinge feature sounds likely to be very similar, if not identical, to the Tinder and PoF set-up, based on the description Boyd relayed to Wired. Hinge will prompt users to take a video selfie within the app to verify their identity. Then, the company will “compare facial geometries from the video selfie to photos on the user’s profile,” the spokesperson told the outlet.
If the algorithm + human moderation finds a user to be legit, their profile will get a “Verified” badge. The video selfie isn’t displayed on a user’s profile, and the “facial geometry template” is deleted within 24 hours, according to Match Group. Hinge’s video selfie verification will begin rolling out next month, and will be available to all users in December.
Updated 10/25/2022, 1:38 p.m.: This article has been updated with additional information from a Hinge spokesperson.
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