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Dating appdate (July 2023): Raw photos, Bumble rival, and Musk’s ‘Twinder’?

  • Raw app shows ‘authentic’ daily photos
  • Flure wants a bit of Bumble’s female-first action
  • Wink absolutely, definitively isn’t a dating app
  • Should Twitter launch a dating app?
  • Rise of the AI chatbot dating app scammers

New app shows your raw self(ies)

The rise of TikTok led some social media industry-watchers suggest that a move towards authenticity instead of filter-laden fakery was taking place in digital society: something new dating app Raw is aiming to capitalize on.

To use the app, which only operates in New York for now, you take a daily photo of yourself, with the onus being on showing the ‘real’ you rather than highly-curated photos taken years ago. It’s a nice idea, and should help cut down on catfishers and other scammers, although submitting a new photo daily requires a fair bit of commitment to the updates (or at least a good memory).

Co-founder Marina Anderson said: “With RAW, you don’t lose yourself in a maze of ‘verified’ profiles that make you question your own realness. No more high school kids pretending to be millionaires. No more ‘celebrity’ profiles asking for money. It’s over. And know that when you get 100 matches on RAW, they’re all real.”

Raw 1
Raw: ‘Authentic’ enough for you?

Bumbling into female-first turf

Another new dating app, Flure, seems to have Bumble in its sites. Like Bumble, the angle is ‘female-first’: men need to be invited by women to connect, and only the latter can initiate chats in the app. The app is also big on safety, starting chats in ‘safe mode’ in which explicit messages and images are banned.

What seems to set Flure apart more is that men can only get on the app if they are invited by existing female users, giving it a bit of a members’ club vibe and hopefully weedling out a lot of creeps.

The app does seem very much based on a man/woman idea of a relationship rather than focusing on LGBTQ+ people, but for heterosexual women there could be appeal here.

Screenshot 2023 07 24 at 15.58.24
Flure: Masked rabbits need love too

Eyes on Wink after Florida incident

The friend-making app Wink, which is aimed at teenagers and makes it clear that it is not a dating app, has been gaining traction recently. Despite the company’s protests, critics have described the app, which you have to be aged 12 or over to use, as “Tinder for teens”.

12 year-olds meeting strangers online: what could possibly go wrong? Quite a lot, it seems – according to Newsweek this month a 29 year-old man in Florida was arrested after connecting with a minor on Wink and driving to meet them.

A sheriff in Volusia County, Florida said: “I don’t know who thought it was a good idea to give predators an app that lets them pick exactly what age girls and boys they want to meet.”

Wink, which is linked to Snapchat, says it is the “best and safest app to make you feel more connected”.

Elon Musk seems keen on ‘Twinder’

Elon Musk has been talking up the idea of dating through Twitter (or ‘X’ as we’re supposed to call it now). He recently replied to a Twitter user who said they wanted to meet someone the old fashioned way, saying: “Try meeting someone on this platform. Many have.”

It’s clearly something on Musk’s mind – prior to that message he responded to a Twitter user suggesting a dating app version of Twitter (a ‘Twinder’, if you will). “Interesting idea,” Musk replied, adding: “Maybe jobs too”.

Musk is known for kicking around ideas that never come to fruition online, but he’s also known for quickly rolling out updates and new functionality on Twitter quickly, when he wants to.

Dating scammers discover AI chatbots

The rise of AI chatbots has helped many people come up with wittier dating app messages – for better or worse – and it seems like the catfishers have caught on to their benefits too.

NYP
Authentic self? A suspected AI-generated Tinder profile

There have been reports of a rise in sightings of dating app profiles that appear to feature AI-generated images and chatbot-created profile biographies, raising fears that scammers are utilizing AI to flood apps with fake profiles. Previously fake profiles tended to use images of real people taken from the internet.

One Tinder profiled featured in the New York Post has a bio that read, “Let’s ignite sparks of laughter, wanderlust and genuine connections. Swipe right if you’re ready to embark on a wild and captivating journey together!” People pointed out that it seemed likely that a chatbot wrote that fluff.

Tinder said it was cracking down on catfishing, and urged users to check for the ‘tick’ verification mark on profiles (as well as ridiculously overblown bio copy).

Ready for more?
Jamie F
Jamie F

Jamie is a freelance writer, contributing to outlets such as The Guardian, The Times, The Telegraph, CNN and Vice, among others. He is also the creative force behind the Audible podcast Beast Master.

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