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How to use Tinder's safety tools like the panic button and message screening to stay safe while matching

Ron Lyons, Jr.   

How to use Tinder's safety tools like the panic button and message screening to stay safe while matching
  • Tinder users have access to several safety features, intended to protect users while they're matching.
  • These safety features include message screening tools, a panic button to use on dates, and photo verification.
  • Tinder also has an online Safety Center, where you can get tips on how to stay safe and report harassment.

In the past two years, Tinder has faced a number of controversies concerning safety issues on the dating app. Users have routinely been tricked by catfishers, and in 2019, a backpacker was murdered by someone she met through Tinder.

That's why in 2020, Tinder's parent company Match Group announced it would implement safety measures to address the problems users flagged over the years. Among these features are the Tinder Safety Center, a panic button, and photo verification.

Here's where to find each safety feature on Tinder and how to use it.

The Tinder Safety Center

The Tinder Safety Center is the central hub for all the app's safety features. It provides guides, tools, quizzes, and resources on how to keep yourself safe. To access the Safety Center, open your profile, then tap on the shield-like button labeled "Safety."

The Guides section provides user quizzes, tips, and information on dealing with scenarios around consent, sexual abuse, harassment, and safety basics when using Tinder.

Featured quizzes cover online and real-life dating safety and a tip sheet on the do's and don'ts of using Tinder while traveling, while guides cover issues like ghosting and when and how to report harassment before and after matching.

Under the Tools tab, options go beyond preparing you to be safe and instead focus on how to help you respond to events or protect yourself on the app and in real life. That includes how to report a profile, photo verification, privacy settings, getting unmatched, and the crisis text line.

And if you're looking for support, the Resources section offers numerous hotline numbers for various members of the Tinder community. Among them are RAINN's National Sexual Assault Hotline, the National Domestic Violence Hotline, Black Emotional and Mental Health Collective, Trans Lifeline, LGBT National Help Center, Planned Parenthood, and Crisis Text Line.

Photo verification

To limit the activity of fake profiles on the site, Tinder encourages users to verify their profiles with a blue checkmark. And rest assured, the blue checkmark is much easier to acquire than on platforms like Twitter or Instagram. All you have to do is take two selfies, and you're verified.

How to get verified on Tinder

  1. Open the Tinder app on a mobile device.
  2. Click on your profile icon in the top right corner of the app.
  3. Tap on the gray checkmark next to your name.
  4. You'll be prompted to mimic poses provided by Tinder.
  5. Within minutes, your profile should be verified and your checkmark should turn blue.

'Does this bother you?' message reporting

People face harassment, prejudice, or discrimination in their daily lives, so it's no surprise these things would follow them onto dating apps and into their match messages. But just because they exist doesn't mean you should or have to tolerate them.

With the aid of artificial intelligence and machine learning, Tinder will screen and flag messages they deem inappropriate. Tinder will prompt the user for messages that are flagged, asking, "Does this bother you?" If your response is yes, you'll be able to report the user.

The Noonlight panic button

If you've matched with someone and decide to meet up with them but don't want to go alone, Noonlight is there to help. Currently only available for Tinder users in North America, the app lets you silently check in when going on a date, with the ability to send notifications to friends or emergency services discreetly.

To use this "panic button" feature, you'll need both the Tinder app and Noonlight app downloaded.

How to link Noonlight to your Tinder account

  1. Open the chat feature on one of your matches.
  2. Click on the Noonlight icon next to the chatbox.

  3. Select "Add Noonlight."

  4. To make a Noonlight account, first confirm your phone number through text message verification.

  5. Next, enter your name and email address.

  6. Finally, set up a pin that you can use to cancel an alarm.

How to set up Noonlight before an in-real-life Tinder date

  1. In the Tinder app open, open your chat with the person you're meeting.
  2. Tap the Noonlight blue circle logo at the bottom of the app screen.
  3. Next, specify the location and time frame where and when the date will take place. Noonlight will store that information and geo-track your location.
  4. Choose Add To Timeline to share your date details with Noonlight, which will only be used in the case of an emergency.

Once Noonlight is set up and enabled for your IRL date, you can use this panic button when necessary. If you need it, open the Noonlight app, press and the "hold until safe" button, and release it but don't enter your pin. Noonlight will silently notify local police of your location and emergency.

If you want to cancel your panic button activation, press and hold the button in the app again and this time, enter your four-digit pin.

Criminal background check

Easily one of the most sensible safety additions to the app, Tinder is taking steps to grant users the ability to run a background check on their matches.

Last month Match Group invested in the not-for-profit, consumer online background check platform Garbo to decrease the number of gender-based crimes associated with the app.

The service won't be free, but the cost has yet to be announced by either Garbo and Tinder. The feature is expected to be implemented in Tinder and other Match Group dating apps by the end of this year.

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