Tinder is rolling out new safety features for the popular dating app.
With an estimated 50 million users world-wide, Tinder is the highest grossing mobile app of 2019. A local expert is weighing in about why safety is now a bigger priority for dating apps.
Catalina Toma studies the science of communication, including the role technology plays in the dating world. Toma says online dating has become a prevalent way for meeting romantic partners in the 21st century. But despite this, the issue of deception comes into play.
Tinder is adding in-app safety features for dates that become unsafe, including a panic button. It dispatches a police officer to your location if something goes wrong during a date. Users can also “check-in”, to let friends know where they’ll be.
“If you have malicious intent, i suppose technology can make it easier to find victims,” said Toma. Just last month, police in Missouri arrested a man they say used Tinder to lure victims and steal their cars. Police say he did it seven times. Twice at gunpoint. Middleton Police say it;s important to know the risks when meeting someone online and always tell a friend where you’re going.
NBC 15 spoke to some UW-Madison students who use Tinder. Many say new safety measures are long overdue. Others say time will tell if the new features will be effective. “It would be fantastic if we could look at the data and see to what extent after a period of usage this feature has contributed to catching problematic users or has contributed to minimizing deception,” said Toma.
Tinder’s new safety tool will be available January 28th and can be found in a new section of the app called “The Safety Center”. Match, the company that owns tinder, will roll out these same safety tools to Okcupid, Hinge and the flagship match.com later this year.