As hard as this might be to believe if you’re under the age of 25, there was once a world before Tinder, and people used to be able to secure dates in it. We can’t really remember how. We have a vague idea that people used to meet through plain old websites, or even through friends of friends, but that’s the way of the past now. Tinder is the app that changed the way we go about dating and spawned dozens of similar apps. No matter how many competing apps appear, though, Tinder is still the biggest and most popular. There are currently more than fifty million Tinder profiles active on the app.
We should note that a profile being “active” doesn’t necessarily mean it’s being used. Nor does it mean that the people who own those accounts will go on any dates. In fact, a survey that was conducted at the end of 2019 found that more than half of the people who are registered on Tinder have only ever been on one date with anyone they’ve met while using the app. A great many have never been on a single date at all. If you’ve ever spent any time on the app yourself, you can probably imagine why that is. While we don’t deny that it’s potentially a great way to meet a new partner and that several people have found lasting love that way, it can also be a snake pit – doubly so if you go into it blind.
Almost everyone knows at least one person who has a nightmarish Tinder story about a disastrous date they went on or an horrific person they spoke to on the app. While most of the users are lovely, some people on Tinder make you question whether the human race deserves to have a future. Perhaps that’s to be expected when matches are made with a single swipe of the thumb. It’s been noted before that Tinder’s ‘swipe’ interface is very similar to the ‘spin’ interface of online slots websites. It’s also been noted that the results you’ll get from swiping are sometimes every bit as random as the results you’ll get from betting at online slots websites. Someone has to win the jackpot on “Great Rhino,” but a lot of players will have come up short before someone eventually does. If you’re someone who’s met the love of your life through Tinder, consider yourself lucky. Statistically, someone had to have five or six bad dates to make your good date possible. Still, it’s the thrill of the chase that keeps people coming back to online slots – and the same thing keeps people coming back to Tinder.
If you’ve gone off the idea of using Tinder after meeting one too many undesirable people through it, this news might interest you. Tinder has spent much of the past twelve months listening to people who’ve had negative things to say about their Tinder experience. The company is finally ready to take action, and that action will come in the form of new safety tools designed to make the Tinder experience happier, safer, and more user-friendly. While some of the people you’d cross the street to avoid are easy to spot on the app, others mask the more unpleasant aspects of their personality very well. They sound charming and interesting when you speak to them through the app, only for them to turn out to be the stuff of nightmares when you meet them in reality. Tinder would like to help you to weed out those well-hidden people by allowing you to run a full background check on them before you agree to a date.
Some privacy campaigners are already up in arms about the implications of allowing someone you’ve never met to run a background check on you, but Tinder and the supporters of the policy change believe the potential benefits heavily outweigh the potential harm. The new feature, which is expected to be implemented in the very near future, will allow users to run criminal record checks on potential dates using only a telephone number or a full name. This new piece of functionality is made possible through Tinder’s recent investment in a charity called Garbo, which allows people to conduct discreet background checks on new partners or employees. While the checks aren’t as detailed as those available to the police, they’re able to identify arrest records and any known history of violence, harassment, or any associated crimes that might be deemed a risk in the context of an interpersonal relationship. Traffic violations and drug-related offenses will not be disclosed by the checks.
Somewhat controversially, the new feature won’t be free. Each check will come with an associated cost, so users are advised to perform them only on people they’re considering meeting in real life. The fact that a fee is being charged at all will inevitably lead to accusations that Tinder is putting profit before customer safety, but the company assures users that it’s working with Garbo to reduce the cost down to the lowest possible level. Tinder hasn’t yet confirmed whether the feature will be available to all users or whether it will be restricted to upper-tier subscribers. There could be another pitfall there if Tinder is seen to care less about the safety of its ‘free’ users than it does about those who pay a subscription fee.
Full details about the new feature aren’t yet available at the time of writing, so we don’t know what the checks will look like or how detailed they will be. We also don’t know what – if anything – will be done to guard against the risk of people using false names or “burner” telephones that aren’t connected to their real names. As with any system, though, there will be imperfections and people who will look to circumvent the rules via any means necessary. Anything that makes Tinder feel safer should be applauded, though, and if this change means people feel safer and more confident when arranging dates through the app, it should be applauded.