Date from hell? Tinder claims it’s got your back.
The popular hookup app says it’s adding a panic button to help protect users from frightening situations by keeping tabs on meetings times and locations, tracking users as they go about their dates — and summoning the authorities if called.
The new opt-in feature will be offered through a partnership with safety app Noonlight and will be free to use, according to a Wall Street Journal report. Match Group, which owns Tinder, will not have access to any location information gathered by Noonlight.
When a date is scheduled, the user will be able to share details about the meetup with Noonlight, who will track the user’s location in real-time using their phone’s GPS. If a user triggers the panic button, they will receive a text from Noonlight prompting them to enter a code, according to the report. If they don’t enter the code, they receive a call confirming they need assistance. If they confirm that they need help, or if they don’t pick up, Noonlight summons authorities to the user’s location.
The panic button comes after a British man was convicted in November of strangling a backpacker he met on Tinder and then dumping her body in the woods — but not before taking trophy pics of the corpse, prosecutors said.
“You should run a dating business as if you are a mom,” Mandy Ginsberg, CEO of Tinder parent company Match Group, told the Journal. “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.”
Twitter users on Thursday expressed skepticism, however, that the feature will work better than calling 911.
“Why not just leave or call 911? Don’t go someplace sketchy for a Tinder date,” one person commented.
“This feels very dark and complicated,” another Twitter user wrote.
Lifestyle blog The Cut also noted that there could be privacy tradeoffs with the app because it tracks location — although Ginsberg told The Journal that location data won’t be used for marketing purposes.
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