Many of us know that feeling, walking into a bar, not knowing who you’re going to meet or how your night is going to turn out. It’s exciting, risky and it’s what those exhilarating early stages of dating are all about – as the saying goes, opposites attract.
But naturally, where there is risk, there is always some danger. And the stats behind online dating and safety are shocking and unnerving to say the least. In a 2019 survey by ProPublica and Columbia Journalism Investigations, more than a third of surveyed women said that they had been sexually assaulted by someone they had met through a dating app.
How Fluttr will reinvent safe dating through technology
Those sparkly, butterflies-in-your-stomach dating moments should be celebrated and safe to embrace! By using state-of-the-art verification ID technology from the get-go, Fluttr will enable its customers to go beyond what is on offer today and enter a secure environment to find the authentic connection they are looking for.
Fluttr is disrupting the status quo and will be the first dating app to combine biometric ID verification with human moderation of connections, resulting in an environment where dating profiles of users represent the truth. In essence: you are who you say you are.
This level of security will empower users to take chances on potential dates, and to even go on blind dates with people – if they choose to – which introduces partial profile viewing to fully recreate that element of spontaneous romance, that spark of fate, harkening back to the pre-smartphone era.
The dating app’s privacy-first approach is backed by state-of-the-art technology. Jessica Zeun, Head of Product at Fluttr, who champions data extraction as a key driving method behind the tech, said: “When you scan in a document, it extracts that information from your name and date of birth fields, and that’s the Optical Character Recognition (OCR technology) at work.”
“We also have NFC chip reading, so if you use your passport with a chip in, rather than asking you to take a photo of it – if your phone is able to read NFC chips (like when making contactless payments) – you’ll be prompted to put your phone on top of your passport, and it will read the chip and send it through to our ID verification.”
What this means for enthusiastic daters, keen to get ‘back in the game’ after 18 months of sub-optimal dating and romance, is that everyone on Fluttr is real. Long gone are the days of 1960’s Catch Me if You Can-style passport fraud, today’s data extraction technology, both on modern passports and on Fluttr, puts a stop to the first-port-of-call for trickery and catfishing.
It’s no surprise that Fluttr founders were dead set on premium-level verification ID leading the way, when 53% of dating app users fabricate part or all of their dating profile and at least 20% of all online dating profiles are fake. According to Anderson et al, we’re living in a world where shockingly 53% of women think that dating websites are unsafe for meeting people, and 39% of men think the same.
The human safety measure behind the verification ID technology
And there’s more to Fluttr’s security than just automated technology.
“As well as performing automatic checks on the document, there’s also a manual check,” Zeun explained. “It’s fairly seamless to the user, and takes fractions of a second, but our security/fraud experts do look at the documents.
“This is to check that the documents are genuine and have not been tampered with. The app will say ‘please wait’ and then a manual check will happen.
“Liveness detection will ask you to hold the phone up and take a photo of your face. It’s not just taking a photo; it’s performing a 3D scan. This step makes sure you’re a real person behind the camera and matches you in real-time to the image on your ID document.”
How much of your identity do you have to give to safely use verification ID?
Whilst all of this seems secure and safe, users may be cautious around verification ID for privacy reasons.
When asked how the amount of data given for verification ID compares to other online processes, Jessica said it’s no more than if you were opening a bank account online, stating that the app only shares your name, photo and date of birth, along with some core questions on dating preferences.
“We’re not sharing your data with ad networks, we never sell our customers’ data,” she explained. And that, compared to other online activities that involve giving out data, “it’s a much smaller amount of data collected, and we do a lot less with it.”
The above-mentioned dating questions users will need to answer are around gender, what you’re interested in/looking for, desired relationship type and location – but these are the types of questions you could expected to be asked on just about any dating app.
The future of dating looks optimistic thanks to apps like Fluttr, and as part of Ethical Social Group, who will support their evolution into a connected community. One thing is for sure, with the rise of cases of fake news, catfishing and sexual assault all linked to social media and online social apps, the proper verification of personal information is certainly a good thing.