All posts in “dating”

The best and worst platforms for DTR convos, ranked

To send or not to send the carefully composed text? It’s a question many a love-seeking youth has asked themselves in an age in which swiping leads to texting leads to hanging out leads to banging leads to … who the heck knows? Yep, we’re talking about the dreaded “Define the Relationship” (DTR) convo, also known as the “Where is this going?” discussion.

Ideally, DTRs are open and honest face-to-face conversations between two people to discuss what they mean to each other. But that is not necessarily the norm, or even the preferred method of communication for many.

The realm of the DM is vast: There are video chat apps, disappearing messages, and animated bobble heads who will deliver messages for you. Recently, I helped a friend manage a DTR initiated over Snapchat DM! Who says your phone’s texting application has to be where your DTR exists? The person you’re DMing with right now certainly doesn’t.

Most likely, the platform where you have your DTR will be a place where you communicate with your ~person~ frequently. But before you hit send on your “where is this going?” message — or consider how to respond to a DTR message you’ve gotten — you might want to think about the drawbacks and advantages of each.

We’re here to help! Read on for pros, cons, tips, and tricks for navigating DTR convos over DM — and the best and worst platforms for those convos, ranked. 

1. Take It IRL

Just because you start a DTR convo, or receive a DTR message, over a DM platform, doesn’t mean that’s where it has to stay. Consider the DM platform as more of a DTR initiation than the entire venue. For example, if you want to DTR, but would rather bring it up over text than in person, why not send a message asking to meet up to talk about the relationship? Or, if you receive a DTR message, be an upstanding person and offer to discuss more IRL if they would prefer? This is called the hybrid method, folks!

Pros: Gives both parties time and space to think about what they want to say. Will lead to an in-person discussion, which promotes empathy, kindness, and understanding.

Cons: You might have to have an in-person conversation 😬.

2. FaceTime (or other video chat)

If you want to have a face-to-face conversation right this moment, but don’t want to wait to get together (or get the prospect of the conversation rejected, as is a risk in option 1), you can always FaceTime your lovah. Open with a casual “what’s good, how’s it going?” and then have the DTR face-to-face.

Pros: An almost-in-person interaction, the opportunity for resolution in realtime.

Cons: Glitching and lagging could lead to awkwardness. Springing a DTR over video chat could be surprising or off-putting.

3. Texting

Whether you’re a blue bubble or a green bubble, you can’t go wrong with a classic.

Pros: More personal and formal than a social media app. Texting as opposed to messaging shows a bit of respect!

Cons: Potential for misunderstandings and misreadings, callousness, obsession over language (going back and re-reading conversations endlessly). The conversation could drag on over hours or days, depending on how long responses take. Then there’s the hornets nest of Read receipts — some people have them, some don’t. Seeing that a message has been read but not responded to can be excruciating.

4. WhatsApp/Facebook Messenger

As text-based DM-ing platforms, these are relatively similar — and not too different from plain old texting.

Pros: Encryption, y’all! Plus, this is a social app, but its main purpose is texting — private communication is the main event, not the side show.

Cons: Lots of people, especially internationally, use WhatsApp and Facebook Messenger as their main forms of communication. But these still seem a bit informal, which could be disrespectful to your interlocutor.

You never have to DTR with your cat. You know she hates you.

You never have to DTR with your cat. You know she hates you.

5. Snapchat DM

Want to keep things ~super chill~? You’ve found your platform!

Pros: disappearing messages mean you can’t endlessly obsess over the convo (unless you choose to save them, which means you’re actively choosing obsession). Read receipts for both parties keep people accountable to answer in a timely fashion.

Cons: Good lord, where do we start? Disappearing messages mean you might miss or misunderstand something. Read receipts are stressful as hell. It’s Snapchat, an ephemeral messaging app … that does not speak well for the longevity and commitment of your relationship!

6. Instagram DM

The platform of thirst traps, superficiality, and stuntin’. Who wouldn’t want to DTR here?

Pros: You probably talk to your bae on here a lot. Why not carry on, alongside reminders of how good you look?

Cons: Instagram chat is for sending memes and booty calls. Not a very auspicious beginning for a relationship.

7. Co – Star DM

This astrology app could be the perfect place to either bring to life or kill your relationship.

Pros: Let the movements of the planets be your guide.

Cons: You have to ask your S.O. for their birth time.

8. Instagram post

Usually, the Instagram Official photo post comes after the DTR. But why not switch it and reverse it? Simply announce your relationship to the public before your newly minted significant other agrees to it. And, voila! You’re Instagram Official!

Pros: No messy conversation necessary, and you get to pick a good photo of yourself. Plus, maybe you’re with someone who’s hesitant to commit verbally, but is too lazy to end things verbally, so now you’re just in a relationship, de facto.

Cons: Listen, if a plan is gonna backfire, at least it will backfire in spectacular fashion.

9. Group text

New relationships affect more than just the couple, OK?! Your friends would probably like some clarity about where you two freaks stand, too. Why not have your DTR in a group text with your closest friends, where everyone can witness and comment upon the defining of your relationship?

Pros: Friends keep you honest, friends will have your back, friends are there for you, in good times and bad.

Cons: Honestly, it’s 2019. Maybe this is fine now.

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Takeaways from F8 and Facebook’s next phase

Extra Crunch offers members the opportunity to tune into conference calls led and moderated by the TechCrunch writers you read every day. This week, TechCrunch’s Josh Constine and Frederic Lardinois discuss major announcements that came out of Facebook’s F8 conference and dig into how Facebook is trying to redefine itself for the future.

Though touted as a developer-focused conference, Facebook spent much of F8 discussing privacy upgrades, how the company is improving its social impact, and a series of new initiatives on the consumer and enterprise side. Josh and Frederic discuss which announcements seem to make the most strategic sense, and which may create attractive (or unattractive) opportunities for new startups and investment.

“This F8 was aspirational for Facebook. Instead of being about what Facebook is, and accelerating the growth of it, this F8 was about Facebook, and what Facebook wants to be in the future.

That’s not the newsfeed, that’s not pages, that’s not profiles. That’s marketplace, that’s Watch, that’s Groups. With that change, Facebook is finally going to start to decouple itself from the products that have dragged down its brand over the last few years through a series of nonstop scandals.”

(Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)

Josh and Frederic dive deeper into Facebook’s plans around its redesign, Messenger, Dating, Marketplace, WhatsApp, VR, smart home hardware and more. The two also dig into the biggest news, or lack thereof, on the developer side, including Facebook’s Ax and BoTorch initiatives.

For access to the full transcription and the call audio, and for the opportunity to participate in future conference calls, become a member of Extra Crunch. Learn more and try it for free. 

Facebook Dating opens to friends with Secret Crush

Facebook built Dating to be privacy-safe, hoping to avoid the awkwardness of friends or family checking out your romance profile. But now Facebook has found a way to let you silently express your affection for a friend without them knowing unless they reciprocate.

Facebook Dating is opening in 14 more countries, bringing the total to 19. It will launch in the US before the end of the year. Dating brings with it a new feature called Secret Crush that expands it beyond strangers and friends-of-friends. Choose up to 9 friends you like-like. If they’ve opted into Facebook Dating, they’ll get a notification that some friend has a crush on them. If they add you as a Secret Crush too, you’re both notified and can chat on Messenger.

Facebook Dating product manager Charmaine Hung tells me that “I have 2000 Facebook friends. I’m not best friends with all 2000 people, and there’s a good chance that one of that could be a really good match with me. I trust them, I appreciate them, and I know we’re compatible. The only thing missing is knowing if we’re both interested in being more than just friends without the fear of rejection if you were to do this in real life.”

Facebook announced Dating at F8 a year ago and launched it in Colombia in September. Users opt-in, and then browse Events and Groups they’re part of for potential matches. They send them a text-only message based on something in their profile which goes to a special Dating inbox. And if that person reciprocates, they can chat and maybe meet up. Now it’s opening in the Philippines, Vietnam, Singapore, Malaysia, Laos, Brazil, Peru, Chile, Bolivia, Ecuador, Paraguay, Uruguay, Guyana, and Suriname.

One concern with Secret Crush is that users might spam the feature by constantly adding a removing people from their list until they discover a match. That’s why Facebook will only let you sub out one person per day after you reach your initial limit of 9.

Currently there’s still no plan to monetize Dating, but that’s not the point. After years of scandals, Facebook needs to prove it deserves to be your social network. Mindlessly browsing the News Feed has proven to be exhausting and at times detrimental to health. But if the app can introduce you to your future spouse, or even just a summer fling, you might keep a place in your for Facebook too.

Dating apps face questions over age checks after report exposes child abuse

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.

After the meeting Instagram announced it would ban graphic images of self-harm last week.

Earlier the same week the company responded to the public outcry over the story by saying it would no longer allow suicide related content to be promoted via its recommendation algorithms or surfaced via hashtags.

Also last week, the government’s chief medical advisors called for a code of conduct for social media platforms to protect vulnerable users.

The medical experts also called for greater transparency from platform giants to support public interest-based research into the potential mental health impacts of their platforms.