Day 6

Alexandra Tweten says women need a self-defence plan for online dating

This week saw the launch of a new app called Ghostbot, which sends automated replies to tactfully push away people who get inappropriate or aggressive on online dating sites. Alexandra Tweten says it's just one part of the toolkit required for self-defence in the world of online dating.
A new smartphone app auto-generates witty retorts to unwanted advances and sends them on the user's behalf. (Sean Gallup/Getty Images)

For many, online dating is far and away the most popular way to meet people. But it can still be a minefield.

There's only so much you can tell about someone from their OK Cupid profile or by swiping right on their Tinder photo. By the time they start sending you rude or even harassing texts, you're in too deep.

(Screengrab / Instagram / @ByeFelipe)

It's a problem more and more women say they have to deal with more often than they would like.

Enter a new smartphone app that launched this week. It's called Ghostbot, and its mission is to auto-generate witty
retorts to unwanted advances and then send them your behalf.

In other words, it proposes to do your dirty work for you.

Anyone can use it but it's being targeted to single women who are frustrated by how men treat them in the dating game.

As Alexandra Tweten tells Day 6 host Brent Bambury, she sees this scenario play out every day on the Instagram page she started a year and a half ago.

It's called 'Bye Felipe,' and it's a collection of smartphone screenshots — submitted by women — that show outrageous responses and conversations they've had with men who won't take the hint and leave them alone.

Tweten tells Bambury she was asked by Ghostbot's makers to test the app and says its responses aimed to diffuse and confuse, which could be effective in a real-life scenario.

Ignorance isn't always bliss

Tweten says she's had personal experiences that make her believe blocking isn't always the clean and clear solution that it seems; sometimes, you have to monitor the situation.

"I was thinking to myself, did I give him my last name? I can't remember. Did I give him identifying details about myself that would make me afraid that he's going to come find me or stalk me?" she says.  

She points out that blocking completely cuts off any knowledge — so monitoring would help her know if there really is a threat.