Menprovement helpful?

Will Tinder's Reactions feature combat online harassment?

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Menprovement helpful?

By Sarah Holt

The online dating industry is a competitive place. There's an alphabet of dating sites and each one offers its own USP.

Around the start of the alphabet there's Bumble, which claims it has "changed the way people date, find friends, and the perception of meeting online, for the better". Its premise: women make the first move.

In the middle there's eHarmony, which markets itself with the slogan: "Brains behind the butterflies. Finding better matches made just for you."

Towards the end of the A to Z there's Tinder, which claims to be the world's most popular app for meeting new people.

According to research by Pew Research Centre, five per cent of Americans in marriages or committed relationship met their significant others online.

But online dating has a dark side. On October 9, 2017, Sky News reported that crimes related to online dating had risen dramatically in the last five years.

It reported that there were 2,054 offences recorded between 2011 and 2016. In 2011, 140 crimes were recorded, by 2016 that had risen to 676 - a 382 per cent increase.

In the same period, the number of sexual crimes reported rose from 14 to 106 and violent attacks were up from 29 to 240.

At the start of October 2017, Tinder announced that it had introduced a new feature to try to counteract online harassment.

Named Reactions, the new feature was launched as part of the brand's Menprovement initiative. It allows Tinder users to react quickly to potential matches if they are out of line.

So users can now click on an icon to simulate actions like throwing a drink over a person, or rolling eyes. Users can also count out three strikes to another user until they declare that person struck out.

Tinder's official website explains: "Tinder Reactions are designed to give users a selection of responses that can be used at any stage of conversation, and suitable for a wide spectrum of behavior—from a gentle nudge (say “ball’s in your court!”) to a warning (send an eyeroll) to a bold gesture (throw a drink in their face). In our fast-paced world, what woman has time to respond to every act of douchery she encounters? With Reactions, you can call it out with a single tap. It’s simple."

So will Reactions really make a difference to those facing online harassment? Or is it just another gimmick?

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