Tinder’s New AI Feature to Help Users Swipe in the Right Direction

Original article can be found here (source): Artificial Intelligence on Medium

Tinder’s New AI Feature to Help Users Swipe in the Right Direction

It is a truth universally acknowledged, that a single man in possession of a good fortune, must be in want of a wife,” Jane Austen, in her book Pride and Prejudice.

The book was written in the early 18th century, urging us to hark back and realize the time-honored preponderance of love. Since ages, people have been finding love, sustainability, and security in partners in accordance with the prevailing societal belief system. In other words, people around the globe have not always fallen in love the way they do now.

Personal Dating Ad During the 1800s

Since the genesis, humans have been looking for love, meeting people, and establishing social contact in various possible ways. The modern newspaper was introduced in 1690, and the first personals followed right away. During the era of newspapers, personal advertisement sections allowed space for dating ads. However, before it was popularised and conceded, a dating ad for the generation then was an outlandish thing to see.

Helen Morrison was sent to an asylum by the government when she placed a personal ad in the Manchester Weekly journal. In 1727, Helen Morrison became the first woman to put an ad in a Lonely Hearts column of Manchester Weekly Journal. She convinced the editor to advertise an ad saying she was “seeking someone nice to spend her life with.”

A paradigm shift of ethos for dating and relationships have been witnessed since the 2000s. In light of the continually rising internet and smartphone penetration around the globe, humans are becoming more accessible and tech-savvy than ever. This technological boom gave birth to the online dating trend, which invited a lot of skepticism. Online dating has markedly redefined the social realities of dating norms, petering out the traditional notion of how dating was hailed. Despite ethical challenges, the online dating scene took hold of the following decade and brought about drastic changes in terms of dating norms. These changes, conspicuously engendered by Tinder, cannot be classified as inherently good or bad, but they are open to debate.

The Manifest’s Survey Reveals Numbers to Ponder Upon the Distressing Reality of Online Dating Scene.

In the U.S., the Manifest surveyed 187 dating app users. Most of the participants were female (72%) and male (28%) — out of which both the age groups (18–34 and 35–54) — accounted for 50%.

In the survey, the majority of dating app users — close to 93% — have mentioned a variety of reasons about what compels them to delete a dating app.

The foremost reason for deleting a dating app is boredom (25%), followed by stress (18%). Besides, 11% feel unsafe on the app, citing the reason for deleting the app.

On the flip side, there were also reasons mentioned for downloading a dating app. Strange enough, most people download dating apps just because they are curious, not due to the fact that they are looking for someone or are lonely.

Curiosity, convenience, boredom, loneliness, and hope are among the topmost reasons compelling people to download dating apps.

29% of respondents have said that they download a dating app due to curiosity, whereas those that download it as they are lonely and hopeful constitute 12% each.

On the other hand, more than half of users — close to 60% — have reported cases of harassment to Tinder. At times, the harassment compelled users to delete Tinder — 11% of users deleted a dating app as they did not feel safe, according to the survey.

Also, inappropriate behavior results in blocking, which dating apps have been witnessing quite often. At least once in the past six months, 72% of users have blocked another user.

These statistics echo the subsisting unsafe environment in the online dating scene. Several steps have been taken, with the help of AI and ML, to forestall gross misconduct on the app.

Tinder Integrating AI to Combat Harassment Issues

Tinder has been recognizing perverse activities on the app. In fact, on 23rd January this year, the app introduced a machine learning tool that prompts with a message “Does this bother you?” when an objectionable message is detected, thus allowing users to report it for harassment.

This feature seems to pursue the trend of focusing on message recipients. However, the company is now working on a second anti-harassment solution called “Undo” to put a damper on people from sending pesky messages. Unlike the previous feature, it alerts the sender with a message: “Are you sure?”

The new feature is presently available across 11 countries and in 9 languages.

While some admired the update, they still believe it will hardly make any difference in user experience. Some even expressed concern that that Tinder might unintentionally flag unoffending messages, finding them to be offensive on account of contextual nuances. A few recommended that the matter of explicit behavior on dating apps is not a piece of old tackle. But Tinder claims that by dint of AI and ML, the app will pick up behavioral patterns of users, allowing it to get acquainted with users’ mode of approach on the app.

It’s a catch-22 situation for tinder’s algorithm to screen and detect objectionable messages flawlessly, as contextual subtlety acts as a barrier in drawing a line between casual flirting and obscene behavior.

In an interview with wired, Rory Kozoll, Tinder’s head of trust and safety products said, “One person’s flirtation can very easily become another person’s offense, and context matters a lot.”

Users across all online dating apps, not just Tinder, are bound to witness reprehensible behavior given the nature of the platform, especially for women; Consumers’ Research survey of dating app users in 2016 said that more than half of women reported experiencing harassment, compared to 20 percent of men.

The first gigantic change that Tinder brought about within the world of online dating is the speed at which connections were made among consensual users. This expeditious nature of tinder made users more inclined toward the app, allowing the app to garner a substantial user base. However, user accountability eventually was put at risk considering the rising popularity and the unbridled mode of approach made by users on the app.

In November 2019, a man based out of Auckland was convicted of murdering a British woman, Grace Millane, after they met on Tinder.

The new safety initiative is akin to other AI-enabled anti-harassment solutions on other social media platforms. Instagram’s new anti-cyber-bullying measure flags potentially nasty comments, making users consider carefully before posting such comments.

In an attempt to address the prolonged concern pertaining to user safety, several other features have been incorporated in Tinder. “Noonlight” is one of the features, where users can input information about dates, such as when, where, and with whom they are going. Also, it enables the user to share the location, thus allowing the app to track it during a date. A user, in this case, can hit a panic button to prompt alert emergency services. Users who connect Tinder profiles to Noonlight have the option to press an emergency button while on a date and will have a security badge appearing in their profile.

Research led by BBC in 2015 said that Tinder was the 10th most popular lifestyle app in Canda and the 15th most popular app in the U.S. “Every day, millions of our members trust us to introduce them to new people, and we’re dedicated to building innovative safety features powered by best-in-class technology that meet the needs of today’s daters,” said Elie Seidman, CEO of Tinder. “I’m proud to share these updates, which represent an important step in driving our safety work forward at an unmatched scale.”

Along with these features, come in lockstep a variety of other tools that stress on safety. Tinder recently announced a new in-app Safety Center, offering educational resources pertaining to dating and consent, a powerful photo verification tool to cast down bots and catfishing.

About Tinder

Tinder, introduced at a college campus in 2012, is now the world’s most popular dating app, which saw 2 billion swipes in just a few years since its launch. The app has been reportedly downloaded for more than 340 million times, available across 190 countries and 40+ languages. As of now, it has registered close to 5.7 million subscribers.