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Catfish: The Billion Pound Romance Scam,More on this story

 · Online dating: 'In everyone is a kind-of catfish'. By Annabel Rackham. Newsbeat reporter. 20 April MTV. Journalist and author Oobah Butler presents Catfish  · According to a study, online dating has become a much more likely way to meet a partner than a chance encounter. Yet it can take a toll: a recent survey from UK-based  · According to a study, online dating has become a much more likely way to meet a partner than a chance encounter. Yet it can take a toll: a recent survey from UK-based 29/07/ pm BST, The privacy watchdog is investigating the online dating industry after claims that personal data was being sold to bolster sites' numbers. The Information AdDating Has Never Been Easier! All The Options are Waiting For You in One Place. Compare Big Range of Dating Sites Today. Find Your Perfect Match Online Now! ... read more

Between them they have more than 15 million users and on average , dating games are played each day, with more than one million people watching the live dates unfold - mainly in the US, though some in the UK too. The group's chief executive Geoff Cook describes the platforms as "a public version of speed dating" and compares them to Twitch, where huge audiences watch computer gamers play and interact with their favourite stars. Like Twitch, the most popular "daters" can make money, as audiences send them virtual gifts - suitably romantic, like roses and chocolates - which can be converted to cash.

You buy a virtual gift like you would buy someone a drink at a bar, to get that person's attention, explains Cook. Most users are there to flirt, have fun and find a real-life partner in their locality. Some users are also there to harass and leave lewd comments. So the livestreams are monitored by both human moderators and computer software, searching for abusive language.

Lockdown has accelerated that trend, making people accustomed to live video calls for remote work and keeping in touch with family members, he reckons. The number of dating games being played on the apps has nearly doubled since lockdown.

It first got big in China with the Momo app, she says, even though the country has such a different culture to the US. Lester wrote a popular dating blog in London for many years and has since worked as a consultant for dating companies. She is not surprised by the rise of live video dating and the voyeurism that goes with it.

Being in the audience for a date on an app allows you to "test the waters", she says. There is still a little bit of a stigma around dating sites and the "gamification" of it helps to get round this, she thinks.

Lester reckons live dating with an audience is a new trend that will prove popular beyond specialist apps like MeetMe, though more formal dating platforms, which use detailed questionnaires to match people, may resist it.

Plenty of Fish is a mainstream dating site currently offering live dating experiences. Badoo also recently experimented with the idea. Meanwhile, some aspiring dating stars are using other social media platforms to create their own live dating shows. Urszula Makowska, 25, was growing increasingly disillusioned with New York's online dating scene. The fashion blogger was ready to give up on apps like Tinder, but lockdown proved a turning point.

Her friends decided - with her consent - to find some eligible bachelors, then set up a series of live dates on Instagram, using her account. A few other influencers had broadcast dates this way too and dating app Bumble had created a weekly chat show on Instagram Live called Virtual Dating Dial In.

Some men declined the date with Urszula when they learned it would be broadcast live. Those who took part had their charm rated by Urszula's thousands of followers, who voted on whether there would be a second date. Urszula says the feedback has changed her approach to dating. She learned that she often cuts men off mid-sentence and is now a better listener.

She also learned to be more open-minded about the kind of person she was looking for. But was the project really about finding love, or finding new followers? She is after all a social media influencer, who grows more powerful as her audience increases.

Since the outbreak of coronavirus people are no longer satisfied with "a shallow interaction like swiping and a handful of text messages", says Geoff Cook of the Meet Group. It was back in when the word "catfish" took on a new meaning - someone who uses a fake identity online to target specific victims. The phrase came from documentary maker Nev Schulman, who fell in love with a year-old girl online, only to find out she was actually a housewife using fake photos and a false story to chat to others online.

Nev turned his story into an incredibly successful documentary and reality TV show, which after eight seasons in the US, is now getting a UK version. It's hosted by radio presenter Julie Adenuga and journalist Oobah Butler - and they say catfishing is now a completely different beast in He says that "everyone is kind of a catfish" as photo editing is so common that people often don't look like their Instagram profile in real life - creating a distance between their online persona and who they really are.

Oobah and Julie both grew up watching the original Catfish show and wondered how it would translate to a UK audience. They did all the investigative journalism themselves and Julie calls Oobah a "blonde James Bond". He made everyone feel like they had a purpose in his stream. Ericka and Lex live in the US and met on popular dating app MeetMe. Users broadcast live from their phones and then interact with people who tune in.

This live vlogging format includes a series of live dating game shows. Livestreamers are paired up to see if there is any chemistry between them. Viewers comment on a "stream" underneath, in real time. In fact quite a bit of the date can involve participants responding to these comments - a bit meta, but handy when the conversation runs dry. Ericka began as what's known as a "lurker". She watched Lex's dates.

Liking what she saw, she plucked up the courage to comment. Then she put herself forward for the "guest box", meaning she herself would have a video date with him - while others watched on.

Ericka and Lex are not the only couple to have got together this way. Thirty-eight-year-old musician Kevan and make-up artist Haley, 22, also met on MeetMe this year. Neither had been on other dating sites before, but they didn't come on the platform with the intention of "dating", they say. They just wanted to "stream" and meet people. Haley started streaming "to share my positive energy". She watched popular livestreamers for inspiration and saw Kevan. Like Ericka, she appreciated the way she could see how Kevan behaved with different types of people on the app, which gave her a measure of him as a person.

When they met for the first time offline, in Orlando, Florida, Haley says it was "a dream come true". God has blessed me in so many ways, but Kevan is my favourite prayer that he has answered. They still stream together on the platform individually and as a star couple. Sometimes they even take part in "dates" with other people, on the understanding that "nothing can go beyond a crush".

MeetMe is part of a suite of dating apps run by US company The Meet Group. Others include Skout, Tagged which focuses on an African-American audience and LOVOO an app developed in Germany, which MeetMe bought. Between them they have more than 15 million users and on average , dating games are played each day, with more than one million people watching the live dates unfold - mainly in the US, though some in the UK too.

The group's chief executive Geoff Cook describes the platforms as "a public version of speed dating" and compares them to Twitch, where huge audiences watch computer gamers play and interact with their favourite stars. Like Twitch, the most popular "daters" can make money, as audiences send them virtual gifts - suitably romantic, like roses and chocolates - which can be converted to cash.

You buy a virtual gift like you would buy someone a drink at a bar, to get that person's attention, explains Cook. Most users are there to flirt, have fun and find a real-life partner in their locality. Some users are also there to harass and leave lewd comments.

Television game shows have made dating a form of entertainment for the masses for decades. More recently reality TV has adopted the genre, with hits like Love Island and First Dates. Now the phenomenon has moved online - and anyone can play. I was so nervous to even say, 'Hi'.

The first time I saw him smiling, my heart told me. Ericka's heartfelt letter which she published on social media recalling the first time she met boyfriend Lex sounds like a timeless tale of love.

But read on a bit further and it becomes apparent that this is a love story with a very modern twist:. Not one comment was missed. He made everyone feel like they had a purpose in his stream. Ericka and Lex live in the US and met on popular dating app MeetMe. Users broadcast live from their phones and then interact with people who tune in. This live vlogging format includes a series of live dating game shows.

Livestreamers are paired up to see if there is any chemistry between them. Viewers comment on a "stream" underneath, in real time. In fact quite a bit of the date can involve participants responding to these comments - a bit meta, but handy when the conversation runs dry. Ericka began as what's known as a "lurker".

She watched Lex's dates. Liking what she saw, she plucked up the courage to comment. Then she put herself forward for the "guest box", meaning she herself would have a video date with him - while others watched on. Ericka and Lex are not the only couple to have got together this way. Thirty-eight-year-old musician Kevan and make-up artist Haley, 22, also met on MeetMe this year.

Neither had been on other dating sites before, but they didn't come on the platform with the intention of "dating", they say. They just wanted to "stream" and meet people. Haley started streaming "to share my positive energy". She watched popular livestreamers for inspiration and saw Kevan. Like Ericka, she appreciated the way she could see how Kevan behaved with different types of people on the app, which gave her a measure of him as a person. When they met for the first time offline, in Orlando, Florida, Haley says it was "a dream come true".

God has blessed me in so many ways, but Kevan is my favourite prayer that he has answered. They still stream together on the platform individually and as a star couple. Sometimes they even take part in "dates" with other people, on the understanding that "nothing can go beyond a crush". MeetMe is part of a suite of dating apps run by US company The Meet Group. Others include Skout, Tagged which focuses on an African-American audience and LOVOO an app developed in Germany, which MeetMe bought.

Between them they have more than 15 million users and on average , dating games are played each day, with more than one million people watching the live dates unfold - mainly in the US, though some in the UK too.

The group's chief executive Geoff Cook describes the platforms as "a public version of speed dating" and compares them to Twitch, where huge audiences watch computer gamers play and interact with their favourite stars. Like Twitch, the most popular "daters" can make money, as audiences send them virtual gifts - suitably romantic, like roses and chocolates - which can be converted to cash.

You buy a virtual gift like you would buy someone a drink at a bar, to get that person's attention, explains Cook. Most users are there to flirt, have fun and find a real-life partner in their locality.

Some users are also there to harass and leave lewd comments. So the livestreams are monitored by both human moderators and computer software, searching for abusive language. Lockdown has accelerated that trend, making people accustomed to live video calls for remote work and keeping in touch with family members, he reckons. The number of dating games being played on the apps has nearly doubled since lockdown. It first got big in China with the Momo app, she says, even though the country has such a different culture to the US.

Lester wrote a popular dating blog in London for many years and has since worked as a consultant for dating companies. She is not surprised by the rise of live video dating and the voyeurism that goes with it. Being in the audience for a date on an app allows you to "test the waters", she says.

There is still a little bit of a stigma around dating sites and the "gamification" of it helps to get round this, she thinks.

Lester reckons live dating with an audience is a new trend that will prove popular beyond specialist apps like MeetMe, though more formal dating platforms, which use detailed questionnaires to match people, may resist it. Plenty of Fish is a mainstream dating site currently offering live dating experiences. Badoo also recently experimented with the idea. Meanwhile, some aspiring dating stars are using other social media platforms to create their own live dating shows.

Urszula Makowska, 25, was growing increasingly disillusioned with New York's online dating scene. The fashion blogger was ready to give up on apps like Tinder, but lockdown proved a turning point. Her friends decided - with her consent - to find some eligible bachelors, then set up a series of live dates on Instagram, using her account. A few other influencers had broadcast dates this way too and dating app Bumble had created a weekly chat show on Instagram Live called Virtual Dating Dial In.

Some men declined the date with Urszula when they learned it would be broadcast live. Those who took part had their charm rated by Urszula's thousands of followers, who voted on whether there would be a second date. Urszula says the feedback has changed her approach to dating. She learned that she often cuts men off mid-sentence and is now a better listener. She also learned to be more open-minded about the kind of person she was looking for.

But was the project really about finding love, or finding new followers? She is after all a social media influencer, who grows more powerful as her audience increases. Since the outbreak of coronavirus people are no longer satisfied with "a shallow interaction like swiping and a handful of text messages", says Geoff Cook of the Meet Group.

Video has become by default a way to filter out people you have met on apps, to decide who you actually want to meet in person, he says. But broadcasting these video dates themselves, as entertainment to spectators, is that not a little, well, shallow? The usual criticism of dating apps is the excess of choice, says Cook.

This makes people restless and unlikely to commit to a relationship. Observing how someone behaves in a livestream means you get to know the person better, he says. Kevan and Haley, who are both committed Christians, agree on this.

Asked if they would be happy to tell any future grandchildren that they met on a live online date, Haley says: "Everyone's scared or embarrassed to say we met on Tinder, or whatever, because they think people use these apps for bad reasons, but this is our truth so it's what we're going to say. I was committed to being single, and she changed that. You can follow Dougal on Twitter: dougalshawbbc. Thanks to trailblazers like Tinder, online dating has gone mainstream.

And mature daters want in on the action too. Lorna is 62 and lives in Edinburgh where she works as a PA.

She is a divorcee with children and grandchildren and is still looking for love. This video can not be played To play this video you need to enable JavaScript in your browser. WATCH: What is live video dating and how does it work? Image source, MeetMe. Ericka on a live date with Lex as virtual gifts come flying in from rivals. Kevan and Haley are livestreaming stars on the MeetMe dating app. Dating goes live and public.

Charly Lester wrote a popular blog about her dating experiences. Instagram Live. Image source, Urszula Makowska. An advert for Urszula's dating show on Instagram Live. Image source, Urszula Makowska Instagram. One of Urszula's dates turns raunchy and the viewers seem to love it.

Post-date analysis. Matching couples can win things like restaurant vouchers on MeetMe. You may also be interested in:. Lorna is part of a growing trend for overs to use dating apps.

Online Dating Exposed: Panorama Investigation Reveals Data Sold And Pseudo Accounts,Accessibility links

 · According to a study, online dating has become a much more likely way to meet a partner than a chance encounter. Yet it can take a toll: a recent survey from UK-based 29/07/ pm BST, The privacy watchdog is investigating the online dating industry after claims that personal data was being sold to bolster sites' numbers. The Information  · Online dating: 'In everyone is a kind-of catfish'. By Annabel Rackham. Newsbeat reporter. 20 April MTV. Journalist and author Oobah Butler presents Catfish AdDating Has Never Been Easier! All The Options are Waiting For You in One Place. Compare Big Range of Dating Sites Today. Find Your Perfect Match Online Now!  · According to a study, online dating has become a much more likely way to meet a partner than a chance encounter. Yet it can take a toll: a recent survey from UK-based ... read more

She also learned to be more open-minded about the kind of person she was looking for. She learned that she often cuts men off mid-sentence and is now a better listener. Many users become frustrated with the time they spend swiping online, compared to the time they spend actually going on dates. People Are Calling Out The Police For Their Attitude To Anti-Monarchy Protesters. Being in the audience for a date on an app allows you to "test the waters", she says.

But was the project really about finding love, or finding new followers? The Circle's Manrika: 'Abuse has been very scary', bbc panorama online dating. Viewers comment on a "stream" underneath, in real time. Show more. What Does The Queen's Lying In State Involve? People Are Calling Out The Police For Their Attitude To Anti-Monarchy Protesters. Andy Hong feels like he keeps meeting the same woman online: a graduate from a small school in New England who bbc panorama online dating to ski and play sports.

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