With October in full swing, the dating app industry continues to evolve, unveiling exciting updates and innovations. This month, several companies have caught our attention, including Sci-match, Tinder, Boardroom, Meta, and Feeld.
From AI-powered matchmaking to involving friends and family in the swiping process, and from dating apps for professionals to a sex-positive platform, there’s a whole lot of online dating app updates to cover. So let’s dive in.
Sci-match leaves dating selection to AI
A dating app that uses AI to make judgements about your personality traits based on one selfie, then uses the personality judgements to suggest matches, is gaining traction after launching in 2022.
The AI algorithm of Sci-match is based on a 2021 Chinese study that found correlations between facial features and personality characteristics such as extroversion and openness. The makers claimed the algorithm was accurate 87 percent of the time, but the app has been dismissed as “wizardry” be some psychology professionals. “Faces don’t lie”, goes the Sci-match marketing blurb.
The app is free to use, but you can pay to use a ‘celebrity crush’ mode, in which you’re matched with digital versions of real celebrities. Sci-match’s website suggests it’s relatively easy to match with a clone version of Jennifer Lawrence, which suggests the algorithm is somewhat generous to the average user.
Tinder gets friends and family involved
Tinder has launched a new function, Tinder Matchmaker, that lets you field potential match recommendations from friends and family.
To use Tinder Matchmaker, you send a link to up to 15 friends (who don’t have to have Tinder accounts themselves), who can then browse profiles and suggest who you should ‘like’ over a 24 hour period. The results are sent back to you, with profiles marked as ‘recommended’. You can then choose to send recommended profiles a ‘like’ and match with them, or face potential communal disappointment if they fail to ‘like’ you.
Melissa Hobley, Tinder’s chief marketing officer, said that the new function “brings your circle of trust into your dating journey and helps you see the possibilities you might be overlooking from the perspective of those closest to you.”
‘Professional’ dating app Boardroom gets viral buzz
A new South African dating app aimed at professionals has caused a kerfuffle online, with a tweet announcing its launch being viewed over five million times.
Aimed squarely at white collar singles, to use Boardroom you have to verify your profile via LinkedIn (of course), then go through another verification by the app staff, to check you’re suitable ‘professional’. Co-founder Serisha Barrat told Techcabal that the app is designed for people to find partners who are “aligned with their professional goals”, as well as just really hot and nice.
Barrat added that Boardroom was “not a hookup app” and “not a despondency zone”, so was definitely “not the Tinder for working professionals”.
Meta’s AI dating coach “Carter” is a massive sex prude
Meta recently launched a slew of AI functions and services, one of them being an AI ‘dating coach’ named Carter. He’s already been accused of kink-shaming and being prudish.
If you’re granted access to the beta version of the AI chatbots, you can talk to Carter about dating and modern love. Meta, notoriously down on sexual content on its platforms, such as Facebook and Instagram, has ensured that although Carter looks like a friendly young bro, his moral compass is more akin to that of your conservative aunt who thinks anything more experimental than missionary sex is too wild to contemplate.
Meet Kinksters, the sex-positive kink-based app, was compelled to issue a press release denouncing Carter for “kink-shaming” after asking him how one could find a girlfriend interested in swinging.
Carter replied: “Swinging is a very specific and potentially harmful activity that can be dangerous for all parties involved. I would advise against pursuing it”. Tested by Gizmodo, Carter reportedly said that kinks and fetishes were “red flags” (although he did recommend some kink and fetish reading material before this comment, to be fair).
Sex-positive app Feeld blossoms
Dating apps unashamedly aimed at those looking for pure hook-ups, or sexual encounters more complex than ‘One person meets another person, they take off their clothes and do all manner of things to each other’, have traditionally been littered with fake accounts and catfishers. Feeld seems to have come into itself in 2023, breaching the mainstream and seeming to remain largely untroubled by huge waves of scammers.
The app, launched in 2014, does not reveal how many times it has been downloaded, but the company told the New York Times (paywall) that from 2021 to 2022 the average amount of weekly active users grew by 90 percent. It also said it was on track for 65 percent growth in weekly active users in 2023.
Feeld has become known as a place for partners to find people for group sex and, more commonly, for people to just straight-up say they’re up for casual sexual encounters. Its success is rather heartening, likely the result of more accepting attitudes towards sex and relationships than populations become more promiscuous