Dating app Badoo has just banned its users from taking screenshots of private conversations, and it’s triggered a lot of questions about privacy.
Before we get started, let’s do a quick poll. Who here has taken screenshots of an exciting new match on a dating app and shared them with a pal to get their opinion? I’m guessing there are lots of raised hands. And has anyone ever taken screenshots of a conversation with a new match then dumped them into your WhatsApp group to get a 360 analysis of what’s been said? There are more raised hands, including my own.
Let’s be real: most people who use dating apps are ‘guilty’ of doing this. You just need to check out the incriminating search results of ‘does Hinge notify screenshots?’ for further proof. But, after a taking a moment to really think about this – and how I feel about a guy I’ve never even met potentially sending screenshots of my profile and conversation to his friends – I’m wondering… it is OK to do?
It’s worth pondering the issue as dating app Badoo has just launched a new ‘Screenshot Block’ feature on its private conversations. The app reports that 93% of surveyed daters said they would be more open and honest on dating apps if screenshots of these conversations weren’t possible. The findings also show that over half (57%) of its users said they worry about their private messages being shared with other people.
And they probably have every right to be cautious: nearly a quarter (24%) of users revealed they had already experienced private content being shared without their permission. Badoo hopes this features will encourage users to consider how their match may feel knowing that their conversation has been shared without consent.
So, is this a good idea?
Instagram accounts such as Beam Me Up Softboi and Tinder Nightmares have hopefully taught us to err on the side of caution when it comes to dating app chats. Although they can be very funny to read, it’s still a case of judging and ridiculing a person. It’s like what my dating app-aficionado friend said when I brought this up: “When you’re updating your ‘content’ on Instagram, Twitter and dating apps, then sharing them with people, you are aware of who can see it and kinda opening yourself up to it being screenshotted all the time.”
There’s a much darker side, too. While revenge porn isn’t something women should have to worry about when talking to someone on a dating app, it is still very much a problem (although, the new domestic abuse bill has made revenge porn threats a criminal offence). Taking away the ability to take screenshots of private conversations and photos might ultimately (hopefully) reduce revenge porn. Conversely, however, my friend made another good point about using screenshots to record anything offensive: “If someone says something bad or abusive, wouldn’t a screenshot could act as evidence in a complaint or legal action?”
It will be interesting to see how Badoo’s new feature is received, if it eliminates any problems, and if it will set a new precedent in dating app privacy. But for now, it’s just something worth bearing in mind next time you press down the home and side buttons.