The UK government has said it could legislate to require age verification checks on users of dating apps, following an investigation into underage use of dating apps published by the Sunday Times yesterday.
The newspaper found more than 30 cases of child rape have been investigated by police related to use of dating apps including Grindr and Tinder since 2015. It reports that one 13-year-old boy with a profile on the Grindr app was raped or abused by at least 21 men.
The Sunday Times also found 60 further instances of child sex offences related to the use of online dating services — including grooming, kidnapping and violent assault, according to the BBC, which covered the report.
The youngest victim is reported to have been just eight years old. The newspaper obtaining the data via freedom of information requests to UK police forces.
Responding to the Sunday Times’ investigation, a Tinder spokesperson told the BBC it uses automated and manual tools, and spends “millions of dollars annually”, to prevent and remove underage users and other inappropriate behaviour, saying it does not want minors on the platform.
Grindr also reacting to the report, providing the Times with a statement saying: “Any account of sexual abuse or other illegal behaviour is troubling to us as well as a clear violation of our terms of service. Our team is constantly working to improve our digital and human screening tools to prevent and remove improper underage use of our app.”
We’ve also reached out to the companies with additional questions.
The UK’s secretary of state for digital, media, culture and sport (DCMS), Jeremy Wright, dubbed the newspaper’s investigation “truly shocking”, describing it as further evidence that “online tech firms must do more to protect children”.
He also suggested the government could expand forthcoming age verification checks for accessing pornography to include dating apps — saying he would write to the dating app companies to ask “what measures they have in place to keep children safe from harm, including verifying their age”.
“If I’m not satisfied with their response, I reserve the right to take further action,” he added.
Age verification checks for viewing online porn are due to come into force in the UK in April, as part of the Digital Economy Act.
Those age checks, which are clearly not without controversy given the huge privacy considerations of creating a database of adult identities linked to porn viewing habits, have also been driven by concern about children’s exposure to graphic content online.
Last year the UK government committed to legislating on social media safety too, although it has yet to set out the detail of its policy plans. But a white paper is due imminently.
A parliamentary committee which reported last week urged the government to put a legal ‘duty of care’ on platforms to protect minors.
It also called for more robust systems for age verification. So it remains at least a possibility that some types of social media content could be age-gated in the country in future.
Last month the BBC reported on the death of a 14-year-old schoolgirl who killed herself in 2017 after being exposed to self-harm imagery on the platform.
Following the report, Instagram’s boss met with Wright and the UK’s health secretary, Matt Hancock, to discuss concerns about the impact of suicide-related content circulating on the platform.
There are a lot of online dating options these days, particularly dating apps. They all try to stand out in their own way, whether it be catering to a certain niche or type of person, or offering a special feature or service. But the one thing they all have in common: the promise to up your chances of finding that special someone.
EliteSingles is one of those options that claims to have found the online formula for love, particularly for working professionals looking for real relationships. We’ll see about that.
EliteSingles is pretty easy to operate. The site matches singles mainly based on a personality assessment designed after the . Based on your personality and other factors (like age, occupation, and location), the site then sets you up with 3-7 compatible matches per day. This means that unlike sites like Match, you can’t peruse the pool for potential love interests but instead have to wait until EliteSingles delivers matches to you.
Once you’ve matched with people, browse through their profiles. Your options for reaching out are diverse yet simple. You can send a smile (basically an emoji) that lets someone know you’re interested, a message, or simply save them to your “favourites” in case you’re not ready to reach out quite yet. You get variety in a simple, easy-to-use format.
While this could be good for those who don’t have the time to constantly scroll through a dating site and are looking for more of a matchmaker service, those who have grown accustomed to filling the time with swiping through an app in search of a date may become a bit antsy.
Personality profile based on
Verified profiles (to eliminate frauds and scammers)
Partner suggestions (3-7 matches per day)
Send and receive messages to other members
EliteSingles Magazine: A blog that offers tips and tricks for dating
Not for millennials
EliteSingles seems to constantly brag that around 80% of its members are college grads. Most of its members are 33-50 years old, so it’s definitely geared less toward the Tinder-using generation and more toward those in the “working professional” category. Sorry uni kids. This ain’t for you.
We used the desktop rather than the mobile version, which feels appropriate since the clientele for this dating site seems to skew older.
Making a profile
As if there was any doubt before, the profile setup process convinced us that this is far from the instant gratification world of Tinder. The profile building process — which includes filling in your basic info plus taking the personality test — is lengthy. Its purpose seems logical: the more the site knows about you, the more likely it’ll be able to find a good match, right?
However, filling out the personality test definitely raised some questions for us as far as accuracy goes. Not to mention, some were also repetitive — or just downright awkward to answer.
In one of the first sections, EliteSingles asks you to rate your own appearance in specific categories, asking how the following attributes apply to you: trendy, attractive, overweight, sexy, and plain. Since questions like these are entirely subjective (beauty is in the eye of the beholder, after all), it seems as though uploading a picture should suffice. Shouldn’t potential love interests be able to decide these things on their own?
Getting past the initial awkwardness, some categories raised an eyebrow in a different way. Questions that seek to determine how “rational,” “opinionated,” and “selfish” we are seem difficult to answer.
Signing up for a dating site is all about trying to put your best self forward. We hardly believe that anyone — even those who are aware that they’re selfish — are going to put their bad traits on display if they can help it. It’s the equivalent of choosing the unflattering double-chin photo as your main profile picture.
We filled out the survey as best we could, although it became especially tedious when they started repeating questions. The questions covered everything from self-satisfaction, to how we behave in social situations, to how important certain character traits are. All-in-all the whole thing probably took 30-45 minutes.
One of the drawbacks for the EliteSingles personality test though is that once it’s done, you can’t go back and tweak it or adjust your answers. All is not lost though, because following the personality test you have an opportunity to showcase your personality through a series of (even more) questions — these ones you fill out so that others can see what you’ve said in your profile.
Choose from 11 different prompts and as many you want on your profile, or you can hit “random question” and have the site pick one for you.
Aside from uploading some pictures — you can add up to 24 and connect to Facebook to pull pictures from there if you’d like — your profile is pretty much done.
What we love about EliteSingles
One word: Options.
Although the dating site doesn’t allow you to search willy nilly through all of its users, EliteSingles provides multiple ways to find you a match. The dating site provides you with three main ways to find someone:
Matches: Every day, EliteSingles recommends 3-7 matches that it feels are compatible with your personality. It’ll even show you how compatible you are (a score of 100 being a 100% match), as well as show you what things you have in common. We really like the fact that you can filter and narrow your matches based on height, distance, age, etc. So if you only want to see matches over 5’10” who live within 30 miles and have common interests, there’s a filter for that.
Visitors: EliteSingles lets you know who’s been creepin’ on your profile. It’s like the online version of catching the cute guy at work checking you out as you walk by his desk. Something about you caught their eye and made them pay your profile a visit, which can help you feel a bit more confident making the move to say hello. It’s a lot easier to make the first move when you already know they’re interested.
The Have you Met… feature: We really like this feature. “Have you met…” is basically a pool of candidates that fall slightly outside of your pre-chosen match filters, but still might be a good match for you in the eyes of EliteSingles. Why is this feature so great? Simple. Because sometimes we just don’t know what the hell we want or need until it hits us in the face. You can make a checklist of traits that the perfect partner will possess, but do you really want to miss out on Mr. or Mrs. Right just because they’re a couple years younger than your selected age range? This feature gives that person a second shot at catching your eye.
Room for improvement
While we did appreciate the detailed personality analysis, we’re not completely sold on the accuracy of the results. This is mainly because people bend the truth when they need to look good. Perhaps we’d feel differently if someone were taking the Five Factor on their own out of curiosity, but setting up a dating profile is the time to put together your most impressive resume — not identify your personality flaws and tattoo them across your dating profile. People are filing this out knowing their answers are meant to make them appear attractive, so chances are you’re not going to risk sharing something off-putting before you even get out of the gate.
While we love the fact that you can filter your matches based on distance, we think EliteSingles could’ve done a little better than setting 30 miles as the lowest option. For some, a 30-mile difference is a considerable commitment — especially for a first date. The ability to narrow this down to a smaller area would be especially helpful for people who live in cites. Cities that are filled with professionals. We’d at least like the option to narrow it down further, to 5 miles.
EliteSingles claims to manually verify their profiles to avoid fake accounts, using SSL encryption and fraud detection technology. While this may help them identify scammers, it isn’t stopping people from being dishonest on their profiles. We lied about income and it was never flagged, which makes you feel like we probably could’ve lied about other things, including educational background, in order to seem more appealing.
While the EliteSingles personality test may be able to find out who you’re compatible with, it doesn’t focus much on who you’re attracted to. The heart wants what it wants, but EliteSingles limits you to seeing only profiles that could be potential matches. So if you have a “type” that EliteSingles doesn’t think you’re compatible with, you may be out of luck. The flip side to this, of course, is that if you’ve been unlucky in love, perhaps you could use some help with selecting potential dates whom you may not have considered previously.
What are other people saying about EliteSingles?
After reading through scores of reviews, we definitely saw a lot of complaints. Many people claimed that their matches were way off from the criteria they set, with a significant portion relating to distance. Others complained of difficulties cancelling their membership and poor customer service. However, among the dissatisfied users were some glimmers of hope. For example, user Deb from datingsitesreviews.com wrote:
“What can I say. I was a little hesitant at first as like eHarmony, Elite Singles supplies you with matches after you fill out a lengthy profile. I live in a fairly major city so a lot of matches were sent my way. […] This was my first try at online dating and overall it was a good experience. I have met several men through Elite Singles and am currently dating one of them now. I was hesitant at first as my girl friends have used other dating services with mixed results. They complained about scammers and the poor choice in men. I think you will find them on all services just like in real life. You just have to know what signs to look for and play it smart. […] In the end I am glad I choose this service.”
EliteSingles is far from a perfect dating site. On the plus side, it’s focused primarily on professionals who are looking for something real, instead of a lot of other dating apps that cater to younger, hookup-minded audiences. The site was easy to navigate and the personality assessment was a cool feature that helps you learn a little bit about yourself.
On the downside, the sign-up process takes a while. The fact that you have to fill out the entire test before you’re able to see what the site’s all about could easily be a deterrent for some eager or impatient singles. Requiring users to invest time in the personality test can help to weed out people who aren’t taking this whole online dating thing seriously though. If they’ve carefully filled out a profile, then you know they’re serious about finding a good match.
Also worthy of noting: the free version doesn’t really get you anywhere. Without subscribing, you’re basically only able to see the fact that you have matches and/or messages. User pictures are blurred and messaging is super limited. Also, from what we can tell from reviews and from our own list of matches, EliteSingles doesn’t do the best job of abiding by your set criteria.
EliteSingles boasts over members worldwide, claiming that an average 2,000 couples pair off every month. Neither of those are small numbers, so if you’re willing to put in the time to fill out a profile and risk weeding through some less-than-ideal matches or an annoying customer service experience, who knows, you may land on a gem.
January 11, 2019 / Comments Off on EliteSingles UK review: A dating site with curated matches, meant for a more mature crowd
Bumble has come up with a new way for its dating app and related businesses to generate revenue. The company this week launched filters – a way to sift through potential matches by a set of specific criteria. For example, Bumble Date users can now filter matches by astrological sign or relationship type, among other things, while those on Bumble BFF or Bumble Bizz, could filter matches by interests or industry, respectively.
The new feature is meant to save users time by limiting their selection of potential matches to those who are more relevant to their own interests.
A dating app user may want to filter out those who are only looking for casual situations, while a business user may want to filter matches based on whether they’re looking for a job, mentor, or collaborator, Bumble explains. And on Bumble’s friend-finding platform, Bumble BFF, people may want to filter for people who enjoy the same things they do – like fitness or photography.
“We’ve been working internally and with our users to create just the right mix of filters that allow for deeper, more meaningful connections and we’re very pleased with what we’ve developed,” said Alexandra Williamson, Bumble Chief of Brand, in a statement about the launch. “Whether you’re looking for a new job in media, a new mom friend or a date with a Sagittarius who loves live music, Bumble Filters enable you to tailor your experience in a way that ultimately gives you more control of the kinds of relationships you’re looking to build,” she said.
Filtering matches by specific criteria isn’t anything new to dating apps. Other more traditional dating sites, like Match and OKCupid, have offered ways to filter matches, too. But Bumble’s more direct rival Tinder has focused less on filtering and more on speed of moving through matches. It doesn’t let users specify preferences beyond some basics – like location, distance, gender and age.
Whether or not filtering actually helps in delivering a good match, however, is less clear. But it’s certainly something people want.
Today, many women on dating apps ask men for their height, for instance – so often, in fact, that men began volunteering this information on their profiles, even if the profile doesn’t have a field for height. Often, sober people don’t want to match with people who say they drink regularly. Non-smokers generally want to date the same. And so on. But over-filtering could lead to users missing out – after all, how important is the star sign, really, or whether they have pets? (Allergies notwithstanding, of course.)
On the dating side of Bumble, the new filters include height, exercise, star sign, education, drinking, smoking, pets, relationship type, family plans, religion, and political leaning.
Bumble BFFs can filter for drinking, smoking, exercise and pets, too, as well as type of friendship, relationship status, whether they have kids, or if they’re new to the area.
And Bumble Bizz users can filter by industry, networking relationship type, education, and years of experience.
Bumble hopes filters will be an additional stream of revenue for its business, which it said in September was on track for a revenue run rate to $200 million per year. Bumble now claims 46 million users.
The company says all users will receive two free filters in Bumble Date, Bumble BFF, and Bumble Bizz, but additional filters will have to be purchased through Bumble Boost – the premium upgrade that also allow you to see who liked you, extend your matches, and rematch expired connections. (Boost’s pricing varies based on the time frame – a week, a month, etc. Its weekly plan is $8.99/week, currently).
Bumble’s filters are available on both iOS and Android.
December 18, 2018 / Comments Off on Bumble now lets you filter potential matches on Bumble Date, Bizz and BFF