Dating apps are once again preparing to be abuzz with activity for Valentine’s Day. Even though outlooks toward dating apps have become increasingly positive over the past few years, with platforms gaining in both popularity and users, they have throughout their short existence continued to attract a great deal of attention on the risks they pose to users from a personal safety perspective.
Any dating app user will be familiar with the anxiety involved with moving from digital to in-person interactions, and unfortunately, that anxiety has a legitimate source. According to the Pew Research Centre, one in two online dating users in the US believes that people setting up fake accounts to scam others is very common.
The financial details back them up, too: the FTC recently highlighted that, with $1.3b in losses over the last five years, romance scams are now the biggest fraud category they track.
And people who strike up online relationships between Christmas and Valentine’s Day might be at particular risk of romance fraud. Last March, for example, the UK’s National Fraud Intelligence Bureau experienced a spike of romance fraud reports. It’s little wonder, then, that Netflix chose the start of February to release its true-crime documentary The Tinder Swindler.
With online dating apps now entirely mainstream as one of the default ways of meeting people, with over 300m active users, it is more important than ever that the businesses running them take strong steps to protect user safety. This is a moral imperative, of course, in terms of working for users’ best interests – but, as the market matures, it’s also quickly becoming a potentially existential problem for dating platforms.
Challenges faced by those looking for love
When considering managing the online reputation of a company, user experience, and business outcomes are often one and the same thing, meaning that moderation is an important measure to consider. Disgruntled customers, for instance, often utilize social media to publicly criticize companies, leading to a backlash that can rapidly spiral out of control.
It’s not easy, however: online dating is, understandably, a highly sensitive and personal area. Users who might otherwise be highly cautious online are more likely to let their guard down when it comes to looking for love. Platforms have a duty of care to their users to put a stop to fraudulent behavior in order to support and protect their users in a way that does not feel ‘intrusive’.
Effective moderation in this space demands a range of approaches. A well-moderated dating app generates a more seamless and convenient user experience which in turn reduces spam content and unhappy user feedback. Keeping users safe, creating the right brand experience, and building loyalty and growth go hand in hand.
How it works in practice
As we enter a peak season for online dating, a moderation strategy that brings users closer to the people they want to connect with, with less spam and a clearer sense of safety, will be a real competitive differentiator. Ensuring a safe and positive user experience should be at the heart of dating sites’ content moderation strategy.
AI-enabled content moderation processes are essential to catch and remove these fraudulent profiles before they target vulnerable end-users. Online dating app, Meetic, improved its moderation quality and speed with 90% automation at 99% accuracy through an automated moderation platform.
With dating apps relying so heavily on user trust, it is essential that platforms are able to detect and remove scammers, whilst maintaining a low false-positive rate to ensure minimal impact on genuine users. Content moderation teams must also be continuously trained and updated on the ever-evolving tricks of romance scammers.
A content moderation partner can be a great way to ensure high accuracy, and automated moderation to maintain a smooth customer experience. Only with a team of highly trained experts coupled with precise filters and customized AI models will online dating sites be truly efficient at keeping end-users safe.
Platforms cannot afford to make this a ‘non-issue’ – even if users do not experience it themselves, many will see others being harassed online and experience negative feelings towards the brand and platform. For platforms, everything is at stake for both their reputation and ultimately, the wellness of their users.