Machine learning has made its way to Tinder, with the $1.2 billion dating app now using artificial intelligence (AI) to block people for inappropriate behavior.

The at-least-initial anonymity of dating apps demonstrates that trolling behavior isn’t reserved for Reddit or other forum-heavy websites. The popular dating app Tinder has made significant moves to curb or even stop inappropriate behavior. The new tech, which recently launched on Tinder, asks users: “Does this bother you?” when offensive language is detected, thus making it easier to report harassment.

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Blocking offensive users

Tinder’s timing is on point. A new survey from The Manifest,”Swiping Right in 2020: How People Use Dating Apps,” found that 72% of dating-app users have blocked someone on the app, at least once in the last six months.

Harassing behavior on the app

More than half (60%) of users reported harassment (inappropriate or explicit behavior) to Tinder. Sometimes, the harassment is so profound, users have deleted Tinder all together—11% deleted a dating app because they did not feel safe, according to the survey.

But Tinder hopes this new machine-learning tool will make the app a better experience. The survey noted, “Over time, the algorithm will learn what is and is not offensive to individual users to offer a safer and more personalized dating app experience.”

Men more likely to date based on attractiveness

The survey found 40% of men are likely to “swipe right” (try to connect) based on attractiveness, compared to 23% of women.

Image: Manifest

Online dating stigma no more

The stigma of meeting someone to date online evaporated long ago, and in the US, apps like Tinder, Hinge, Bumble, Plenty of Fish, OKCupid, eHarmony, Match, CoffeeMeetsBagel, and more, thrive.

There are dating websites designed for seniors (OurTime), for sex (Passion), and various religion-based apps (ChristianMingle, JDate). Each dating app features a “niche” to separate them from the herd.

However, the impetus to join remains the same: to find someone online to date. Some sites (CoffeeMeetsBagel) are designed to feature the “text” portion of a profile, so there is, to their thinking, more of an emphasis on compatibilty through shared interests, rather than just looks.

“No one is embarrassed about meeting online anymore,” said Jess McCann Ballagh, a relationship expert quoted in the survey. “It’s become a social norm. If you are single and you aren’t online, people now ask ‘Why not?’ We’ve gotten used to the internet, and since we now shop, bank, buy, sell, read, write, work, and play online, why wouldn’t we date that way as well?”

The survey found that 37% of people in the US have used a dating app in the past six months.

User beware

But being on a dating app too much or for too long can result in boredom and fatigue. The survey said, “‘Choice paralysis’ stems from having an abundance of options (i.e., why choose just one?), and ‘dating fatigue’ stems from the burnout associated with going on frequent dates and trying to make constant “connections.” The Manifest survey characterizes this as a “download delete cycle” Curiosity and boredom lead them to join, and then stress and even more boredom to delete it when it doesn’t meet their expectations.

“People are having trouble committing to someone when there are so many other people to meet and explore,” Ballagh said. “Burnout is high. It’s sad that although we’ve remedied the problem of where to meet people, we haven’t really made it easier to find love. In some ways, it’s become harder.”

Delete, delete, delete

As a result, dating app users frequently “swipe left” on dating apps: 93% of users deleted a dating app in the past six months. According to the survey, people delete dating apps because they:

  • Become bored (25%)
  • Become stressed using the apps (18%)
  • Meet someone through the app they want to commit to (14%)
  • Don’t feel safe using the dating app (11%)
  • Dislike using dating apps (9%)

Survey methodology

Manifest surveyed 187 US dating app users, with 72% female and 28% male respondents, and 50% of respondents were 18-34, and 50% were 35-54.

Image: SOPA Images