With the alarm, users will also have the choice to check-in to let people know where they are and summon the police to their location if need be, The Wall Street Journal reports. In order to implement the service, Tinder parent company Match Group Inc. is taking a stake in an app called Noonlight, which tracks users’ locations and notifies authorities regarding safety concerns. The new Tinder feature will be free for U.S. users at the end of January, and Match Group wants to use the option for its other dating apps as well.
The company has come under scrutiny for failing to do more to shield against dishonest users, following reports of sexual assaults and other crimes that have arisen from dating apps. The new feature shows how some platforms are devoted to users’ safety while underscoring compromises in privacy.
“You should run a dating business as if you are a mom,” Match Group Chief Executive Mandy Ginsberg, who has a 21-year-old daughter, told WSJ. “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.”
Noonlight will allow Tinder to oversee the safety of its users after they connect on the platform and meet in real life. Before, the app’s safety precautions focused on how users spoke to each other through the app, and moderated abusive language and photos. When the Noonlight tool launches, users will be able to add a badge to their dating profiles.
Prior to dates, users can log certain information, like time and details about the person they’re meeting. If an alert is triggered, then Noonlight can share the user’s information and real-time location with police. Users will have to grant Noonlight permission to track their locations during the date. An issue with the tool could be false positives, i.e. if users accidentally trigger false alarms and call the police when the date is going well.
When users trigger the alarm, Noonlight asks them to enter a code. If they don’t, then they’ll receive a text message from a Noonlight dispatcher. If they don’t respond to the text, Noonlight will call them. If they don’t answer, or if they do and they need help, then Noonlight contacts emergency services.
“I hate to answer the question about is it ever enough, because it never will be,” Ginsberg told WSJ. “We should always strive to do more.”