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Tinder adds panic button to app

Posted at 7:01 PM, Jan 28, 2020
and last updated 2020-01-29 05:26:09-05

LANSING, Mich. — Starting Tuesday, dating app users may have noticed some new elements designed to keep them safe.

Tinder now has several new safety features including a panic button.

It will allow users to contact 9-1-1 even if they can't talk or text.

"It's working with something called Noonlight which is like an alarm service, a monitoring service. That alarm will be received by them and then they will contact us," said Michael Armitage, Eaton County 911 director.

Noonlight will give central dispatch a link to the user's location.

To add the button, go to settings in the Tinder app, click help and support, safety and security. Then, you open a chat and tap the blue Noonlight logo.

It'll take you to their website where you have to give permission for Noonlight to access to your information.

Tinder isn't the first app to connect users with emergency services.

"We were one of the first in Michigan to work with an integration with Uber. That was probably one of the first ones that came out with an app emergency integration. We haven't seen a huge influx of calls from that," said Armitage.

Armitage says it's still better to call or text 9-1-1.

Noonlight doesn't tell dispatchers anything about the emergency besides the location.

"If you're able to text and send us a message we have kind of context and understanding as to what's going on. We can hopefully try to ask some questions to get a better location as to where you are, but at all means, if you have an emergency and that's the resource available to you, that's the easiest thing for you to use, definitely use it," said Armitage.

Tinder also introduced photo verification to prevent catfishing and a feature to detect harassment.

It will open a prompt that says, "Does this bother you?"

Tinder isn't the only one adding a panic button to their app, Uber also has an emergency button for its riders.

Uber's emergency button does a little more than alert emergency services to your location.

The button tells central dispatch the make, model and license plate number of the car.

The feature is available in more than 250 cities across the nation.

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