Swiping right for verification

September 2, 2021
Rebecca LaChance
A white man with brown hair wearing a graphic-printed blue and white short sleeved button up holds a small polaroid photo in front of his face. On the polaroid, we see the same man in the same shirt, his gaze averted slightly from the camera.

These days, online dating is among the most popular ways to meet a romantic partner. But how can you trust that the selfie that made you swoon is actually of the person who posted it?

Tinder has recently announced it will be employing voluntary verification to help users feel safe and protect them from scammers pretending to be someone they’re not. If users submit a passport or license to verify their identity, there is a degree of trust inherent in each interaction – even though the person you’re talking to is still a stranger, you know that the app itself has some proof that they’re a real person.

Unfortunately, the reality remains that some users around the world may be endangered by using their real IDs on these apps. Particularly in countries where it is illegal for LGBTQ+ individuals to express their identities, if this kind of verification were required, it could put users at real risk. This is why, at present, Tinder is rolling out verification on a voluntary basis.

People deserve a degree of anonymity online, particularly to protect vulnerable populations. Perhaps there is a solution wherein users can be verified by social platforms, but still maintain the option of presenting themselves online in a more anonymous manner. Because for so many of us, online verification offers real benefits. We at Self believe users on ALL social platforms would be safer if verification was available to everyone, not just celebrities and politicians.

However it’s resolved, we hope it leads to many more happily ever afters.

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