Mobile dating app Happn can’t be used to stalk people, according to the company’s CEO, despite what some reports have suggested.
The Happn app allows single people to set up their own profile and choose what kind of person they’re looking for based on sex and age. The app shows users who they have “crossed paths” with and how many times. After two Happn users express an interest in one another — by tapping a red love heart on the other person’s profile — they are able write messages to one another.
When asked about whether the app can be used to stalk people, Happn cofounder and CEO Didier Rappaport claimed it isn’t nearly accurate enough.
“You can cross with people who are around you but it is not really precise because it’s in a circle of 250m, which in a big city is very large, so you cannot really stalk the people,” he said.
Those who use Happn for several months may start to notice that they have crossed paths with certain people close to 100 times, indicating that this person probably lives or works very close to them. It’s perfectly possible that Happn users may start to recognise the people they have matched with on Happn on the street.
Rappaport told Business Insider that Happn is planning to introduce a voice messaging feature so that users can talk to their “crushes” in a more realistic way. Like rival app Tinder, Happn will also be integrated with Instagram so users can see what photos their love interests are posting.
“For us the evolution of our product is really important,” Rappaport said. “We want to make a service that is more and more rich for our users to allow them to express themselves much more.”
Some have suggested that Happn’s proprietary algorithm could be used by the police to track people who have gone missing but Rappaport said the company’s technology wouldn’t be able to pinpoint an individual’s location any better than the technology that’s already built into smartphones, namely GPS.
“We like fostering magic and we want to keep our app in that mood,” said Rappaport.
Happn has 700,000 users in the UK, with 450,000 of those in London where a high population density allows Happn users to cross paths with more people. Globally, Happn is used by some 8 million people and 1.2 million people are joining the platform every month. Rappaport said he expects Happn to have 25 to 30 million users worldwide by the end of 2016 and just as many users as Tinder by 2017.
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