The pond

Mara Fendrich

Tinder’s parent company, Match Group, also owns OkCupid, PlentyOfFish, Hinge and If the update is successful, it could lead to the same technology being implemented in the rest of those apps.

Mara Fendrich, Staff Writer

To start the decade off safer following the online dating revolution of the 2010s, Tinder has announced changes to its app centered on security and transparency. Still, Yin follows Yang, posing one serious question: In eliminating the current predator from the pond, are we making room for something far more fatal?

The new update utilizes technology from Noonlight, a software developed for safety and emergency response. New features on the app will include a panic button, a location tracker that updates frequently and an option in messages for two users to determine the location and time of their date in advance, which immediately stores the information in case of a later emergency.

When Tinder launched back in 2012, the swipe took the world by storm and created a new, straightforward approach to dating. And, although criticism comes in abundance on the role the app has played in the public need for instant gratification, online dating is not going to slow down. Neither is the violence that accompanies it. Sex-related attacks that stem from online dating are reported to have nearly doubled in recent years. Additionally, many dating apps rely on the user to disclose if they have committed a crime relating to sex, without conducting background checks or any other precautionary actions. It goes without saying that an app that connects strangers and often leads to in-person meetings cannot rely on a system of self-reflection and integrity to ensure the safety of others.

While this organizational flaw is massive, users will no longer be completely on their own in terms of security. The second major feature of this update combats catfishing by having members recreate different faces displayed on their screen using their front camera in real time. If they pass the test, a verification check mark will appear next to their name.

Some argue that this update doesn’t meet the standards of safety the users need in order to stop the level of violence and deception that comes with the online dating experience. Others complain that it stores too much information, taking down levels of privacy with constant checks on users’ location, especially when they are not using the app. The fear of being on the map so clearly is real, and it can be terrifying. Still, life sometimes has to come at a cost.

What I know for sure is that every time another missing persons report is filed, and every time their image shows up on the news and not their home, privacy is no longer the concern. Safety should never be laissez-faire.