The dating app Bumble announced on 9th November that it is changing how its “unmatch” feature works in an effort to better prioritize user safety. The change will make it more difficult for a bad actor or harasser to use the app’s unmatch feature in order to avoid having their conversation reported to Bumble’s safety team.
Before, when either side of a match opted to unmatch the other, the conversation simply would be deleted. This, however, could be used by a harasser to leave a conversation and therefore destroy the evidence before the victim of their harassment had a chance to report them.
Following the update, Unmatch function will only delete the chat history of the party who initiated the unmatch; for the person who was unmatched, all chat history and the counterpart’s avatar will retain, just the color will be gray.
If the unmatched person click into the chat, they will see a message informing them that the counterpart has left. Beneath there will also be a banner offering access to support and “Help” button. If there are no issues with the chat, the user can choose to delete the chat history.
If a user acted inappropriately in violation of Bumble’s rules, even if he has clicked Unmatch and exited the chat, the party who was unmatched can still report him. Bumble said that keeping user chat records allows the company to monitor harassment. At the same time, Bumble also pointed out that Bumble is currently the only dating app that provides this function, which makes it different from other dating apps.
Previously, the Australian Broadcasting Corporation (ABC) conducted a survey of 231 respondents who had used the Tinder app. The results showed that 48 out of 231 survey respondents had reported to the Tinder team, stating that they had suffered some form of sexual harassment on the platform, but only 11 respondents received a response. These survey respondents also stated that Tinder team did not take any further measures after receiving the report.
After the investigation piece was published, Tinder announced that it would update its reporting mechanism. The updated Tinder will allow users to report in the app or via email. At the same time, the platform team will also provide corresponding consultation and assistance for the reporting users, but Tinder did not address the issue with the function of dating app.
ABC's report shows that harassers on the Tinder platform can easily delete all chat history through the "Unmatch" function, so that victims have no definite evidence to complain and report.
However, although Bumble took the lead in keeping the chat history of potential harassers, it still showed the obvious deficiencies in the security features of dating apps, and many manufacturers did not consider the security vulnerabilities in the apps when building dating platforms. A survey released by ProPublica last year showed that Tinder and many other top dating apps did not even screen for sexual offenders.
Bumble’s new feature is rolling out now.
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