Grindr collaborates with Spectrum Labs on AI moderation

Grindr is partnering with Spectrum Labs and tapping the startup’s AI-based system to help filter listings on the LGBTQ dating service.

Between the lines: For years, Grindr has chosen not to implement an AI system for content moderation, not because it did not want to expand its keyword-based filtering system, but because it was concerned that the models were not sensitive enough to keep users safe without introducing other biases. .

Content moderation via machine learning is difficult, controversial and not always good, “Grindr spokesman Patrick Lenihan told Axios.

  • With Spectrum providing content moderation to other dating services as well as gaming companies and other Internet companies, Lenihan said Grindr finally found an opportunity it was comfortable with. “They had what we really needed.”

How it works: Instead of just checking content for specific words or phrases, Spectrum’s contextual AI service works to solve specific problems, such as identifying drug and sex sales and trying to detect underage users.

  • Spectrum has a set of algorithms that it has tuned over the years, but also works with each individual customer to make the system work for their environment. As a result, it can take weeks or months to get its tools up and running, but Spectrum CEO Justin Davis says it is an investment that pays off over time.

Why it is important: Although Grindr had understandable reasons to wait to find a suitable AI system, the use of one did not mean that the company was heavily dependent on user reports. In addition to being reactive rather than proactive, the approach is also vulnerable to abuse.

  • Spectrums Davis says that only 18% of users across services report problematic encounters, and a large percentage of these are actually fake reports, such as people who did not like their date.
  • And the other non-AI method that Grindr and others use – keyword monitoring – has become less effective over time as people have become more sophisticated in avoiding such systems.

The big picture: Dating apps have become the key method of matchmaking, but the rise in popularity has also made them a hotbed of harassment, illegal activity and fraud.

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