Tinder has introduced a video calls feature called “Face to face”. The feature, which is rolling out to select users in a few countries first, will not require users to exchange their private phone numbers.
Tinder is rolling out the test in the US in Virginia, Illinois, Georgia and Colorado, as well as in countries such as Brazil, Australia and France. The company is hoping the test will help evaluate certain technical aspects, such as how well the servers can handle the video calls, before rolling it out more widely.
Face to Face differs from a variety of video calling apps in the market in a few ways.
For starters, both users will have to opt in to the video chat to enable it. One user cannot simply start calling the other without any prompt or warning. To opt in, a user will tap on the video icon at the right hand corner of the text chat screen. Once they both do so, they can then video call each other, with the option for either party to opt out at any time.
Before they start video calling each other, both parties have to consent to keep the video call PG- meaning no nudity or sexual content, no hate speech or illegal activities will be discussed.
Once they initiate the video call, the screen will split in half, to allow users see their own image just like the other person does. This is to ensure that both users feel confident since they can ensure that they look good and their backgrounds do not show anything they wish not to share.
“We intentionally did this split screen, so you know exactly what you look like on the other person’s phone, so you can feel a little bit more comfortable,” she says. “And then also, we are hoping that it promotes conversation. By having an equal size, you can see the other person [and] they can see you, so hopefully it fosters conversations because conversations are a two-way street.” Senior product manager on Tinder’s trust and safety team, Bernadette Morgan, said.
At the end of the call, each user will answer a prompt as to whether they would want to video call the other party again; they will also get the chance to report any inappropriate behaviour from either party.
Tinder, however, says that they do not have any intention on listening in on the video calls, and will therefore lean toward trusting the reports from the users. The team will also not be able to revisit or replay the video call to smoke out the offensive content, as it maintains user privacy.
“Nothing could happen in a call like this that couldn’t happen in any other call,” he says. “So our perspective on it is that we would handle this the same way as if you had had a call through some other app or through your own phone with the person and you reported them to us.” said Rory Kozoll, the head of trust and safety product.
Kozoll said he could not give specifics because the issue is complicated and moderation is done on a case by case basis.
User reports are quite crucial for the dating app, although there have been reports of some users misusing it to unfairly target other users.
Tinder has accelerated the launch of Face to Face partly due to the Covid-19 pandemic which has put a limit on travel and in-person dates.