Bumble's 'Deception Detector' uses AI to counter scams, spam and fake profiles

The AI tool was created in response to global concerns and increasing anxiety over fake profiles and scams

Illustration of dating app scams (left) and example of a dating scam (Photos: Getty Images)
Illustration of dating app scams (left) and example of a dating scam (Photos: Getty Images)

SINGAPORE — Is the person you are chatting with on a dating app real? You can't be sure, but dating apps are increasingly adopting artificial intelligence (AI) to better safeguard users looking for love.

In a media release earlier this month, online dating and networking application Bumble announced the launch of new AI feature – Deception Detector – to fight against spam, scams and fake profiles.

This feature is especially important in Singapore where there were over 400 cases of internet love scams reported in the first half of 2023.

A recent Bumble survey showed that more than one third of people in Singapore said that fake profiles are one of the top concerns when it comes to online dating.

How does it work?

Deception Detector operates automatically, identifying and blocking 95% of spam or scam accounts, according to Bumble.

The machine learning-based feature will help assess the authenticity of profiles by swiftly identifying and verifying flagged profiles to build a "more trustworthy" environment, said Bumble’s APAC communications director, Lucille McCart.

What is different about the new tool is that users will not interact directly with it, unlike previously rolled out safety tools like "block and report", "photo verification", "private detector" or "unmatch". Currently, "photo verification" helps verify potential matches, while "private detector" helps combat the spread of unsolicited lewd images.

"The whole idea is to use technology to take action against fake profiles before members even see them or before they have the opportunity to do harm," said McCart.

In response to queries, Bumble told Yahoo Southeast Asia that the Deception Detector will be supported by a global team of moderators who will investigate reports of potential fake profiles, catfishing, abuse, or anyone who does not adhere to its guidelines.

Should users suspect a fake profile on Bumble, they may use the "block + report" feature to notify Bumble's member safety team to take action.

Deception Detector key visual (Photo: Bumble Inc.)
Deception Detector key visual (Photo: Bumble Inc.)

Fake profiles and scams remain top concern

A survey commissioned by Bumble in September found that 33 per cent of respondents identified fake profiles as a top concern in online dating.

"We know that people are increasingly worried about authenticity within the online dating landscape, and that anxiety around this can hold people back from meeting new people that could have a positive impact on their life," said McCart.

Further research from Bumble also found top global concerns over online dating were fake profiles and scams. Almost half of the surveyed women (46 per cent) expressed anxiety over the authenticity of their online matches on dating app.

This was according to research conducted by Censuswide last September to October, with single dating app users above 18, who used a dating app within the last 6 months in the United Kingdom, France, Germany and Spain.

Bumble said that it recognises that trust is "more paramount than ever" in the AI era. As such, the app is being "thoughtful" about how to best use new models to reduce the anxiety of making connections, with AI as a main area of focus," said Bumble's chief executive officer, Lidiane Jones.

Meanwhile, a YouGov survey in Singapore found that among singles keen on finding a romantic partner, about a quarter (27 per cent) had concerns about being catfished or duped by fake profiles. Fake profiles and catfishes were the second highest reason why surveyors have not yet tried dating apps.

A recent Yahoo story shed light on the pros and cons of traditional matchmaking and dating apps in the modern day search for love. If you identify as LGBTQIA+, here are some dating apps to check out in Singapore.

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