Dating during quarantine is hard. Video chats are a lifeline for people in relationships. And if you’re single, your usual dating venues aren’t available to you. The upcoming Tinder feature could just be the solution to that problem.
Dating on video
Yesterday, Tinder’s parent company Match Group LLC announced in their shareholders’ report their plans to launch a one-on-one live video chat in Q2 of 2020. The report doesn’t reveal a lot about how these virtual video dates will work. But the company is well-known for innovations in the dating industry.
The company reported a 37 percent increase in the daily activity of the users during the quarantine. That’s not surprising – it’s inevitable that “the demand for human connection will never dissipate,” and this time is particularly telling. And videos allow users to show a lot more of themselves than text messages.
But is it safe?
Screening for abusive or harassing messages in text form is one thing, but taking the monitoring on real-time data might be more difficult. Tinder already has a safety feature for text messages. Its machine learning tool, released earlier this year, flags potentially offensive messages and asks users, “Does this bother you?”.
Spotting harassment on a live video feed is different, however, and would be quite hard to prevent. It’s only possible to deal with it once it’s already taken place, as we’ve learned from Facebook. And the potential for abuse on Tinder quite big, given the 27 percent increase in messages exchanged on the app in April of 2020.
Match Group report doesn’t disclose the safety measures Tinder is going to take to prevent abuse on live video chats. There are machine learning and NLP technologies available today that can reduce it by automating detection and moderation, but not eradicate it completely. A big reason for this is a huge variety of forms cyberbullying can take, and each individual has a different trigger. Plus, it’s not difficult to detect a location of where a person is video-chatting from, which comes with its own dangers.
Match Group’s commitment to safety is clearly stated on their website. And it is evidenced by the “Does this bother you?” tool and their partnership with Noonlight. However, a dating service carries its own dangers, and the potential for abuse is especially high during this time. Therefore, Tinder’s new video chat feature comes with its own advantages and drawbacks that should be carefully considered before usage. And that includes a review of the safety features.
Photo credit: The images shown were provided by Tinder with permission for press usage.
Source: Match Group Letter to Shareholders of 05.05.2020 / Match Group Press Room / Arielle Pardes (Wired) / Casey Newton (The Verge) / Sarah Griffiths (BBC) / Sameer Hinduja (Cyber Bullying Research Center) / Traci Ruether (Becoming Human.ai) / Megan Farokmanesh (The Verge)