Kath Albury, professor of media and communications at Swinburne University of Technology, says the problems with dating apps mirror the problems with online forums as a whole. She says the abusive conduct is to some extent due to the “online disinhibition effect” – the psychological theory suggesting that there is a lack of restraint because people don’t communicate face to face and miss the point. empathy trigger that might occur with face-to-face interactions.
She says Are you sure? might help influence a relatively empathetic person to reconsider a rash response or a quick emotional reaction. “But what they don’t help is if someone really intends to hurt, scare or abuse,” she says. “If someone is, for example, genuinely misogynistic or racist on a dating app, a pop-up is not going to stop them because they intend to do harm. Therefore [the prompt] saying “ this could be hurtful ”, [the user] it’s like ‘yeah, I know’.
Are you sure? has been deployed in Australia, United States, Canada, New Zealand, United Kingdom, Ireland and Japan, and will be available in other markets in the coming months.
“Secure conversations have been the cornerstone of the Tinder experience from the start,” said a spokesperson for Tinder. “We believe we have a responsibility to educate our members – many of whom are entering the dating pool for the first time – about the type of behavior that is and is not appropriate when building new relationships. With the extra context, do you mind? and are you sure? provide, Tinder is able to act better against bad actors and provide more support to victims through this technology.
Mary says she’s undecided about the impact of Are You Sure?
“It could have an initial impact and scare some people. But those who want to will find ways to get around it. They will exit the app faster and display their true colors once they get your number. So in some ways it could get worse.
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