More and more smartphone apps are adding features that allow people to view their Covid-19 vaccination status and search for other users and businesses who are vaccine-favored.
The Grindr LLC dating app said that starting in September, it will allow users to add their vaccination status to their profiles and filter their searches to find other vaccinated people. Expedia Group Member Vrbo Vacation Home Rental Company Inc.,
This fall plans to allow hosts on its platform to share their requirements for tenants to be vaccinated or tested for Covid-19.
And OpenTable Inc., whose restaurant reservation service already allows restaurants to post Covid-19 vaccine requirements, this month added a “verified for entry” label that customers can obtain by showing proof of vaccination, for example, to any participating restaurant. Starting next month, OpenTable will also allow users to obtain the beacon by obtaining a digital vaccine card from Clear, a platform operated by Secure Identity LLC.
These measures follow similar initiatives from companies such as Match Group LLC’s Hinge Inc. and Tinder dating apps, which allow users to share their vaccination status on their profiles, and review the company Yelp. Inc.,
which added two filters that allow users to search for restaurants where staff are fully vaccinated or businesses that require proof of vaccination from customers.
Some of the new features are aimed at users who want to avoid close contact with unvaccinated people, while others are designed to help individuals keep up with new vaccine requirements from local governments amid the surge in vaccine growth. cases of Covid-19 linked to the Delta variant. Cities like New York and San Francisco, for example, now require proof of vaccination for indoor activities.
“It really tries to be the most useful tool that we can be for our restaurants and also for our diners, because things change quickly,” said Debby Soo, Managing Director of OpenTable, which is part of Booking Holdings. . Inc.
“We are trying to make it as easy as possible for people to go out for dinner or take out food, and for restaurants to continue to pivot and survive this pandemic,” Soo added.
The distribution of badges “vaccinated” on user profiles could encourage other people to be vaccinated, according to the designers of digital experiments, who call the phenomenon “social proof”.
“If more people potentially demonstrate that they are vaccinated it could have a very good impact in encouraging other people to get vaccinated, because of this social proof you are starting to see that it becomes a norm,” he said. said Amy Lokey, senior vice president. President and Head of Global Design at ServiceNow,
Inc., which has developed a cloud-based platform to help businesses manage digital workflows.
Many of the features rely on people self-declaring their vaccination status, however giving users the option to misrepresent themselves, the designers said.
“Vaccinated” stickers on user profiles of dating platforms can be forged by adding a copy of the sticker to a profile photo, for example.
“It’s almost like the floodgates are open for potential bad players,” said Alex Levin, founding partner and chief strategy officer of L + R, a design and technology consultancy.
On the flip side, Mr. Levin said, business owners might not think about immediately updating their profile pages on Yelp or OpenTable with their vaccine requirements, relying on a panel instead. physical on the door.
The latest tech fixes could end up going down the drain as have Covid-19 exposure notification apps, said Albert Fox Cahn, founder and executive director of the Surveillance Technology Oversight Project, a protection group of New York-based privacy and civil rights.
But there are a lot of features that are a step in the right direction, Mr. Cahn said.
“One thing that’s nice about some of the vaccine credentials on dating apps, restaurant apps, is that we know it’s an exercise in trust,” he said. “We know it’s about trying to create a sense of community solidarity to get vaccinated. “
Write to Ann-Marie Alcántara at [email protected]
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