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Tinder's verification process will now use AI and video selfies

Tinder today is rolling out an AI-powered update to its Photo Verification feature, which to date has allowed the app's users to prove to others they're neither a bot nor a catfisher. In the past, users would take pictures of themselves, posing as instructed, to become verified on the dating app and receive a blue check. Now, Tinder is strengthening this process by requiring a video selfie instead of photos. Plus, it will soon allow users to restrict their chats to only those members who are also Photo Verified.

The company says the changes are a part of Tinder's work to make the app safer for its members.

However, the feature also arrives at a time when it's become much easier to leverage AI tools to create fake photos and personas, which could fill dating apps with fake people who are really just bots poised to spam their matches. Requiring a "liveness" check, as a video selfie does, is a much stronger means of vetting that people are who they say they are and weeding out spammers.

Tinder says it's outsourcing the technology for the video selfie to a third-party partner, but declined to name the vendor. The Photo Verification process itself is handled internally through its own infrastructure.

However, it explains that the new model will first require the user to complete a series of video prompts, which the AI then uses to match that the person in the video also matches the person in the profile photo the user wants to verify. The integration works by matching a 3D mapping of someone's likeness (their facial geometry) to their still photo.

As the updates roll out, starting on Wednesday, users who aim to be Photo Verified or who want to maintain their existing verification will have to take a video selfie. The feature will fully replace the prior option to upload photos.

Existing Photo Verified will soon begin to receive prompts in the app to upgrade to the latest version of Photo Verification if they want to keep their blue checkmarks on Tinder, the company notes. This not only ensures that members get verified through the more robust video selfie feature but also addresses the problem of lapsed Tinder users returning to the app where their verified photos are now years old.

In addition to updating the feature to use videos instead of photos, Tinder will later introduce new features that allow users to only see other Photo Verified members in their recommendations, via their Message Settings. And it will allow members to ask their Matches to Photo Verify before they're allowed to send a message. (It's hard to imagine how this will make for a nice first impression, though!)

Tinder Gold subscribers, meanwhile, will be able to filter their "Likes" page for Photo Verified members only.

The company claims that Photo Verification has been proven to increase matches on the service, as users feel more assured that their potential match is a real person, not a bot -- and that they look like their photos. Tinder says among its 18- to 25-year-old users, being Photo Verified gives them a 10% higher chance to match, for example.

The Photo Verification feature will roll out today to Tinder's global users while the ability to restrict messages to "Photo Verified Members" only will arrive in the "coming months," Tinder says.