How to Make Sure Your Online Date Is for Real

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Obviously the point of an online dating profile is to present the best “version” of yourself as possible. But while a certain amount of… shall we say, embellishment on online dating profiles can be acceptable, there’s a point at which it becomes flat-out lying. And that? Is not cool. At all. It’s not fair to your date, and it’s ultimately not doing you any favors, either (would you really want to have to play a part for the duration of a relationship? How exhausting). But although there isn’t a way to guard completely against totally false online dating profiles, there is now a way to ensure that at least the photos associated with them are real. Today, online dating site Zoosk is launching a new feature called Photo Verification that will hopefully take some of the dishonesty out of dating profiles — and improve online dating in the process.

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: I’m all for online dating. But according to a 2013 Pew Research study, it’s got its bumps: Over half — a whopping 54 percent — of people who have dated online have gone out with someone they felt “seriously misrepresented themselves in their profile.” One of the most common ways in which this happens is through profile photos; if, though, photo verification tools like this one become the norm, maybe we can cut down on that Pew figure. Said Zoosk co-founder Shayan Zadeh in a press release, “One of the most important concerns of online daters is going out with someone who doesn’t really resemble their profile picture. By innovating a system for our members to validate the accuracy of existing profile photos, we believe we can create better first-date experiences that will lead to lasting relationships.”

First off, Photo Verification is by choice only, so if you really don’t like the idea, you don’t have to submit your profile to it. If, however, you think it’s awesome, here’s how it works: After you choose to verify your photo, you’ll be prompted by Zoosk’s system to record and submit a “video selfie” — basically, a video that captures your face from a bunch of different angles. Moderators for the site will then compare the video with your photo; if you’re approved, you’ll get a Photo Verified badge added to your profile. Oh, and don’t worry about that “video selfie” — it’ll stay private, so no one else will see it.

I’m hoping it’ll cut down on the use of these six types of profile pics. Got any to add?

1. Really Old Photos

Sure, you may have looked awesome in that shot you took with your buddies on vacation that one time… but it was seven years ago. It’s time to let it go and take a more recent shot.

2. Photos That Don’t Look Like You

Whether you accidentally went a little overboard with the Photoshop touchups or whether you’ve traded in your naturally blonde hair for a vibrant red, you’re better off using a pic that actually, y’know, looks like you.

3. Photos of Someone Else

If we’ve learned nothing else from Catfish, we know that this happens more frequently than most of us would probably like. Even Montana Attorney General Tim Fox has been roped into an online dating scam. All I can say is, why would you do that?!

4. Photos of Large Crowds

How are we supposed to pick you out in that giant group shot of all your friends?

5. Photos from Weird Angles

Save ‘em for MySpace.

6. Photos of Your Dog

Oh, come on. We know you’re not actually that furry. Photos with your dog (or cat, or parrot, or whatever) are A-OK, though.

Images: Giphy (6)