Tinder mobile dating app
Tinder has partnered with Telesign to reduce spam bots plaguing the mobile dating appTinder

Tinder and mobile identity solution provider Telesign are working together to try to bring down the number of fraudulent dating profiles that currently plague the controversial "swipe left, swipe right" dating app.

Using TeleSign's PhoneID and SMS Verification solutions, Tinder has succeeded in bringing down the level of bots masquerading as attractive users and has decreased the level of spam afflicting the social app by 90%.

Tinder has seen rapid growth since it launched in September 2012. In January it was revealed that the dating had passed the five billion "matches" milestone and was handling 1.5 billion "swipes" every day and adding 21 million new matches on a daily basis.

Tinder, a mobile dating network app that enables users to meet potential love interests in their geographic location and choose whether they find a user attractive, has long been criticised for greatly lacking security, making it easy for anyone to pretend to be someone else and for automated chat bots to spam users with ads for porn and webcam strip shows.

"The network that TeleSign has is an enormous advantage and it is exactly what we needed. It is a huge feat to categorise the billions of phone numbers out there and that's something we could never do. It's really impressive and has been a great pairing for us," said Tinder CTO Ryan Ogle.

At the South by South West (SXSW) festival in Texas earlier this month, Tinder users were chatting up a pretty girl called Ava, and some of those conversations progressed to the two parties moving from the app to exchange SMS text messages.

But unbeknownst to Ava's unwitting suitors, they were all talking to a bot created to promote the film Ex Machina, using a photo of the robot girl played by Swedish actress Alicia Vikander.

Separately in the UK, a developer created fake profiles of attractive women in order to trick lots of single men into flirting with each other. Commenting on the experiment, security expert Professor Alan Woodward told the BBC that it had been very easy to build a software program that could manipulate Tinder's API, which controls how apps and programs interact.

Exactly what we needed

Tinder has to verify and authenticate users in the 196 countries and territories that use the app, and since using the TeleSign software, the firm has reported that there is now a 20% higher delivery rate of SMS verification messages than it had before.

Requiring Tinder users to tie their identity to their mobile number is a step in the right direction to beating spam bots, but from the looks of it, Tinder might still have a lot of work to do on securing its API.

Prof Woodward told the BBC: "Put simply, it shouldn't be possible for someone to do this, so the fact that Tinder was 'tweaked' in this way is a serious lapse in security.

"I am surprised that a company that is dealing with such sensitive interactions, which are billed as being truly private, has not seen this loophole in its own penetration testing."