Online Dating Apps Scramble to Address Threats, Scams as Women Become More Wary

Recent reports have indicated that dating applications are scrambling to address the security threats facing their platforms in an attempt to attract young women. Many Gen Z women are turning away from online dating as scammers and criminals proliferate on dating platforms. While these security risks are typically financial scams, there has been a recent increase in romance scams that lead to crimes as severe as human trafficking.

As younger women are becoming more wary of modern dating apps, these platforms are reportedly considering novel features to boost their security and increase user confidence. A Financial Times report noted that companies such as Tinder’s parent company, the Match Group, have plans to step up their content moderation and implement tools designed to improve the experiences of women who use their platforms. Female users are regularly on the receiving end of unsolicited and even improper material as well as violent threats on dating platforms.

According to the FT report, mitigating those issues will be key to Tinder and Bumble improving their performance amid a more than 80% drop in their stock values over the past three years. Furthermore, the report notes that the most recent corporate earnings calls from these companies highlighted their efforts to engage women. Bumble CEO Lidiane Jones noted in January that the dating platform’s top priority is “elevating women’s experiences” and helping its users make connections.

The most popular dating apps on the scene have their work cut out for them. Women are much more likely to go through online dating experiences that make them feel unsafe. Data from the Pew Research Center shows that more than 10% of women say they were threatened with physical harm while a little under 50% of all women under age 50 say they have received unsolicited sexually explicit images or messages on dating platforms. Making this massive demographic more comfortable with dating apps will require an enormous amount of work, especially if dating app companies would like to reverse their recent poor performance as soon as possible.

Tinder has begun by expanding its identity verification features, which compare government IDs with video selfies to verify the identity of account holders. Bumble also stepped up its verification systems by using artificial intelligence (AI) to spot scams or fake profiles. The platform says preliminary tests showed that the AI tool could automatically block a whopping 95% of fake profiles. With numerous surveys pointing to fake profiles as one of the top concerns for most online daters, boosting identity verification features could go a long way toward increasing women’s confidence in dating apps.

Entities operating in most major markets, including China-based Momo Inc. (NASDAQ: MOMO), are also likely to be grappling with how to keep incidents of scams and threats at a minimum on their dating apps so that user numbers don’t decline.

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