Tinder, that erotic digital vestibule that may or may not be sucking up your personal data like a small child consuming a Yoo-hoo, is venturing a few new features in the name of user safety.
The Wall Street Journal reports that the popular dating app will soon give users who want additional safety measures the option to hit a panic button and receive check-ins. Tinder’s parent company Match Group, Inc., is partnering with an app called Noonlight to provide this service. Noonlight tracks the user’s location and sends notifications to the police if safety issues arise. The feature will be free for U.S. Tinder users by the end of January and will appear on other dating apps over the next few months.
Tinder users will be able to add a badge to their dating profiles showing that they are protected by the new tracking feature; Match Group is hoping this will work as a deterrent. The company’s chief executive Mandy Ginsberg told the Journal, “You should run a dating business as if you are a mom. I think a lot about safety, especially on our platforms, and what we can do to curtail bad behavior. There are a lot of things we tell users to do.
But if we can provide tools on top of that, we should do that as well.”
Of course, there’s an obvious privacy trade-off for users who opt in to having their dates tracked by a tech company. As the Journal notes, “The investment in Noonlight marks the first step Tinder is taking to monitor the real-time safety of its users after they connect on the platform and meet for coffee or drinks. Previously Tinder’s safety efforts focused on monitoring how users communicated with one another.” Ginsberg told the Journal that the location data won’t be leveraged for marketing purposes, but Tinder and other dating apps have reportedly been caught up in such schemes before.
Another concern with the feature: What if users accidentally trigger the alarm and the cops crash their date? Ginsberg isn’t too worried about that, telling the Journal, “The false positives, believe me, we took them into account … Worst case someone shows up and knocks on the door. It’s not the worst thing in the world.” Maybe not in the world, but on a date? Just about.