Dating apps are designed to get people together, but they can also be abused as tools of harassment. Even users who may mean no harm might regret tapping out a message that could be misinterpreted, land flatly, or step over the line. Now a new “safety feature” developed by Dallas-based Match Group aims to help users think twice before sending problematic messages.
The feature—called “Are You Sure?”—is expanding to millions of users across a suite of platforms by the end of the year, including Match, Stir, OurTime, BLK, Chispa, and Upward. Hinge plans to roll out this feature next year, Match Group added.
Known in shorthand as AYS?, the anti-harassment feature provides a warning in real-time to users about their opening line. The feature uses automated tools to detect potentially harmful language, proactively intervening to warn the sender that their message may be offensive, asking them to review, and consider editing it before hitting send.
More than 500 million messages have been edited or deleted since the rollout
First launched on Tinder in 2021, the feature has since expanded to Plenty of Fish and Meetic. Since the initial rollout, Match Group says that “more than 500 million messages have been either edited or deleted by users” after the feature flagged potentially harassing or problematic language.
“We know certain words and emojis can be seen as harassment, but we also recognize that there are users who may not realize how messages can be perceived by others,” Rory Kozoll, SVP of Central Platform and Technologies for Match Group, said in a statement.
“This tool has been a powerful way to help educate and encourage users to not send messages that could be potentially harmful to others,” Kozoll added. “Intervention and prevention help provide meaningful changes in behavior, while also giving users a way to put their best foot forward when first getting to know someone.”
Users seem to be learning from it
Users seem to be learning. Over time, there’s been an 84% decrease in the feature being triggered to users on Plenty of Fish, Match Group noted, indicating the tool is effectively guiding users to learn from the intervention prompts and change their behavior.
The feature was built based on language reported by Match Group members, and it’s continued to evolve and assimilate behavior over time to flag new words and phrases. The tool is now available in 18 languages worldwide.
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