Match.com safety feature lets users ‘check in’ with their friends to relay details of dates – including suitor’s name, meetup location and time
Check-in allows users to notify emergency contacts when a date sends red flagsThe feature sends a text to one’s phone to check if it’s going alright If a user replies, Match will notify pre-determined emergency contactsThe notification includes the date’s name and the location/time of the meetup
Online dating going mainstream hasn’t made the potential dangers of meeting up with an internet stranger any less alarming.
That’s why Match.com is rolling out a check-in feature that lets users shoot over their date details to trusted confidantes, including the name of the person they’re meeting up with, the location of the date and the time.
Once check-in is turned on, users will receive an automated text message during their date asking them if everything is going alright and if they’d like to notify their previously listed emergency contacts if it’s not.
Match.com is letting users notify emergency contacts if their date is showing any red flags. Check-in sends users a text that users can reply to and send trusted contacts their date’s name, the location of the date and the time
The user can then reply ‘yes’ to the text message and all three contacts will be notified.
Match says that if one feels that they’re genuinely in danger that they should notify the police, but features like check-in can help to fill in the gaps in between.
If their date is giving off bad vibes, check-in may help to alleviate some stress until its over or one finds a way to make an exit.
Match’s check-in feature mirrors one recently launched by Tinder, an app-based dating service that is owned by Match.
Last month, Tinder added a ‘panic button’ to its app that will allow people to alert the police if they feel unsafe while out on a date.
It was rolled out to users at the end of January in the US, and uses a technology that tracks the location of users and notifies authorities of any safety issues.
Tinder is now using tech to track the location of users and notifies authorities of any safety issues with the help of a company called Noonlight
Tinder says the location information entered by users won’t be used for marketing purposes and will be held by the third party company Noonlight, not the dating app.
Additionally, Tinder has rolled out new anti-catfishing software that aims to prune the platform of bots and scammers that attempt to swindle users out of personal information or lurk there with other nefarious goals in mind.
Despite the more robust safety features, there’s still progress to be made on weeding out bad elements from online dating services.
As noted by Engadget, while Match.com screens its platform for sexual predators, none of its other properties, including Tinder, Plenty of Fish and Hinge do the same.
As a result, they may unwittingly allow less scrupulous characters to join and increase the inherent risk for users meeting in-person.
HOW DID ONLINE DATING BECOME SO POPULAR?
The first ever incarnation of a dating app can be traced back to 1995 when Match.com was first launched.
The website allowed single people to upload a profile, a picture and chat to people online.
The app was intended to allow people looking for long-term relationships to meet.
eHarmony was developed in 2000 and two years later Ashley Madison, a site dedicated to infidelity and cheating, was first launched.
A plethora of other dating sites with a unique target demographic were set up in the next 10-15 years including: OKCupid (2004), Plenty of Fish (2006), Grindr (2009) and Happn (2013).
In 2012, Tinder was launched and was the first ‘swipe’ based dating platform.
After its initial launch it’s usage snowballed and by March 2014 there were one billion matches a day, worldwide.
In 2014, co-founder of Tinder, Whitney Wolfe Herd launched Bumble, a dating app that empowered women by only allowing females to send the first message.
The popularity of mobile dating apps such as Tinder, Badoo and more recently Bumble is attributable to a growing amount of younger users with a busy schedule.
In the 1990s, there was a stigma attached to online dating as it was considered a last-ditch and desperate attempt to find love.
This belief has dissipated and now around one third of marriages are between couples who met online.
A survey from 2014 found that 84 per cent of dating app users were using online dating services to look for a romantic relationship.
Twenty-four per cent stated that that they used online dating apps explicitly for sexual encounters.