Tinder steps up on safety, adds 'silent bodyguard' in app

Dating app Tinder has rolled out a personal safety feature on its platform, that enables users to access emergency services and transmit location data without requiring a 911 phone call or the ability to talk or text. This comes as parent company Match Group invested and partnered with safety app Noonlight (formerly SafeTrek), in a bid to empower users to keep themselves safer on and offline.

The integration with Noonlight for Tinder members in the US will allow members to share details about upcoming dates via Noonlight’s "Timeline" feature. This includes sharing details of who they are meeting, where and when, with the ability to discreetly trigger emergency services if they are feeling uneasy or in need of assistance via the Noonlight app.

Tinder will also equip daters with a Safety Center, an evolving section of the app dedicated to keeping members informed about these features while providing resources and tools. The Safety Center will be available to members in the US, UK, France and Germany, and will be localised for additional markets throughout the year. Marketing has reached out to Tinder for additional information on the feature's launch in Asia.

According to Brittany LeComte, Noonlight's co-founder and CCO, Noonlight acts as a "silent bodyguard", and with the integration with Tinder, it can serve as a quick backup for daters, helping to deter bad behavior and helping members meet matches with more confidence. The safety feature comes at a time several cases around stabbing and murder by Tinder dates have been reported. In 2019 alone, several news outlets alleged of murders and attacks on women in the US, UK and Australia.

In addition, Tinder also launched a photo verification function on its platform, which allows users to self-authenticate through a series of real-time posed selfies, which are compared to existing profile photos using human-assisted AI technology. According to Tinder, this helps users verify a match's authenticity and increase trust in member profiles. Verified profiles will display a blue checkmark to prove authenticity. The feature is currently testing in select markets and aims to be widely available throughout 2020.

Another new feature that Tinder is bringing onboard is "Does This Bother You?", which detects whether an offensive message has been sent and will roll out in select markets. Powered by machine learning and aided by the Tinder community, when a Tinder member responds "Yes" to the “Does This Bother You?” prompt, after receiving a potentially inappropriate message from a match, they will have the option to report the person for their behaviour. Similar technology also plays a role in "Undo", an upcoming feature that will ask Tinder members if they would like to take back a message containing potentially offensive language before it is sent.

CEO of Tinder Elie Seidman said millions of members trust the Tinder platform to introduce them to new people, and the company is dedicated to building innovative safety features powered by technology that meet the needs of today’s daters. “I’m proud to share these updates, which represent an important step in driving our safety work forward at an unmatched scale,” he added.

(Read also: Tinder to launch its first scripted video series as part of original content drive)