Here’s How Hornet Uses Technology and Community to Keep Its Users Safe
As the world’s premier gay social network with more than 25 million users worldwide, Hornet strives to be a platform that empowers gay men to come out and join in the ‘fun and fabulous’ of the gay community. Part of that mission requires the fostering of a safe and affirming environment where users can express all the different and wonderful parts of themselves. And because Hornet is not just for the LGBTQ community but is also a part of the community, it takes seriously the obligation to go “above and beyond” when it comes to user safety.
Hornet has long been a leader in the realm of creating and maintaining a safe environment for its users, which is why Hornet’s co-founder and CEO Christof Wittig was recently invited to take part in a panel discussion by the Internet Dating Excellence Association. Among the panel’s points of discussion were the steps Hornet and other apps continue to take to ensure user safety.
Keeping Hornet users safe takes many forms, among them machine learning-based verification systems, various product features, and company policies and commitments. All of these safety measures improve Hornet users’ lives and protect them.
First and foremost, Hornet is staunchly committed to all industry standards that keep users safe. This includes publicly displaying the Hornet code of conduct and requiring all users to agree to it; employing paid moderators to help regulate content (in addition to algorithmic moderation of images and potentially problematic language); providing buttons for users to report any abuse that takes place within the app; and an enforcement system comprised of escalating strikes that also aims to educate users about their infractions.
In October 2019, Hornet’s Version 6 unveiled the Hornet Badge, providing an easy way for users to spot fellow authentic users who are also invested in “opening up” to the community. The prominently displayed badge is earned when a user posts and shares things about himself and interacts with the community, thereby distinguishing badge-holders from potential fake profiles, catfish and spammers.
Since unveiling the Hornet Badge, Hornet has seen spam reports drop an astounding 60%, due to the fact that now incoming messages from users without badges are “quarantined” in a separate message request inbox.
In the longer run, with the LGBT Token, Hornet is an early adopter of blockchain to create verified identities through transaction history, which is particularly important where governments fall short or even act as adversaries of our community. (Currently a third of the world criminalizes LGBT people.) Blockchain and the LGBT Token also allow transactions to be made while preventing a user getting outed against his will.
For years, Hornet has employed a bug bounty program in cooperation with HackerOne that incentivizes community members to identify and report vulnerabilities within the app. By constantly challenging hackers to break its defenses (and paying them a bounty when successful) Hornet has been able to remedy any weaknesses before they can be exploited by malicious actors.
Last, it should be mentioned that the Hornet Community itself is a means of maintaining user safety. As a vertical social network focused on creating a culture of mutual respect, the community itself offers protection against the toxicity you see on some other platforms. A healthy community rejects malicious actors and fosters better behavior in each human, bringing out the best in them.
“I believe smaller communities bound by common values are generally better at fostering positive behavior and stifling malicious actors,” says Hornet’s Wittig. “In an analog world, a village is generally safer than a city full of strangers. Online, where everyone is a stranger, new online communities emerge that share common values or interests, and one of them is the LGBTQ community.”
Hornet will continue to maintain high standards and dedicated practices aimed at guaranteeing user safety, all of which are part of Hornet providing a place for users to connect to their community.
Founded in 2011, Hornet is the world’s premier gay social network. With over 25 million users globally, the Hornet mission is to inspire and empower gay men to create a global, connected community that moves society forward. Powered by cutting-edge technology, Hornet has become the number one gay app in markets like France, Russia, Brazil, Turkey, and Taiwan, and is rapidly expanding its sizable user base in the United States. More information at hornet.com
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