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Tinder is launching a panic button
Photography Kon Karampelas, via Unsplash

Tinder is launching a panic button

The dating app has announced a handful of new features, including a service that will ‘easily and discreetly’ contact the emergency services if needed

As MTV’s Catfish proves, people online aren’t always who they say they are – especially when it comes to dating apps. In an attempt to address the possible dangers of this downfall, Tinder has today announced a handful of new safety features, including a panic button.

The platform has partnered with personal safety app Noonlight – which connects to a user’s devices and sends help when it detects, or is alerted to danger – to provide Tinder users in the US with a “silent bodyguard”. The new feature will enable you to note who your date is and when and where you’re meeting them. If you feel uneasy, you can “easily and discreetly” trigger an emergency services call through the app.

“Our integration with Tinder can serve as a quick back-up for daters,” Noonlight’s co-founder, Brittany LeComte, said in a press release, “helping to deter bad behaviour, and helping members meet matches with more confidence. It’s a first-of-its-kind added security measure to help protect Tinder members even when they’ve taken their interactions off the app into real life.”

Concerns may rightly be raised about sharing location data with a big tech company, though Mandy Ginsberg, CEO of the Match Group – which owns Tinder – told The Wall Street Journal that this data wouldn’t be used for marketing purposes.

Also among the newly-announced features is photo verification – only available in certain areas (TBC where) – which allows users to self-authenticate their profile. The app will use human-assisted AI technology to compare a number of real-time selfies with a person’s profile, providing verified users with a blue tick.

Finally, Tinder is working on a feature called “Does This Bother You?” which will detect potentially offensive messages. Powered by machine learning, an alert will pop up asking users to verify whether the message “bothers” them, and once they reply “yes” or “no”, they are given the option to report the sender. Another upcoming feature, “Undo”, will ask users to take a second look at messages identified by the app as offensive – a feature similar to one launched by Instagram last year.

“Every day, millions of our members trust us to introduce them to new people,” Tinder’s CEO Elie Seidman added in a press release, “and we’re dedicated to building innovative safety features – powered by best-in-class technology – that meet the needs of today’s daters.”

There’s no confirmation about when exactly the new features will arrive on the app.