The mobile app, dubbed “Tinder for teens” by the press, lets its 5m users swipe left or right on other member profiles.
If both users swipe right, the pair will match and can begin talking, and although this is a very similar set-up to the swipe-based dating app Tinder, Yellow adds the extra element of connecting its users on photo-sharing app Snapchat when they match.
However, because of the app’s age verification system, children’s charity the NSPCC says that older users can easily contact youngsters on Yellow, and therefore Snapchat.
A recent investigation by The Times found that adults are able to alter their age on the app after signing up, to see and talk to younger users, even if their profile picture is a true representation of themselves.
According to the report, in many cases the profiles of girls as young as 13 were visible on the app, and because of the connection to Snapchat, the NSPCC has raised concerns that sexting between older users and youngsters could potentially occur.
An NSPCC spokesperson said: “Yellow’s settings that enable adults to view children, through a service blatantly aimed at flirting and relationships, create an opportunity for sexual predators to target young people.
“We want age verification measures in the Digital Economy Bill that will stop under-18s accessing porn websites to be extended to cover social networking platforms.
“This would mean adults would not be able to pose as children or vice versa, and any operator that failed to comply could face fines or be blocked from operating in the UK.”
In response, Yellow’s developers said they will no longer allow adults on the app to change their age without proof of ID, however the company will not be verifying ages at the sign-up stage.
A spokesperson from Yellow said: “Like other social networks we are not asking for proof of ID to sign up. We are looking for the best compromise between privacy and users’ security.
“Yellow is a virtual social network and not a location-based dating app. Underage users cannot discover people over 18 and vice versa.
“In any case, users can only chat with text messages – it’s not possible to send pictures within Yellow.
“Users can report profiles that seem to have a fake identity, fake pictures, inappropriate content or who lie about their date of birth.”
These concerns follow Tinder’s recent closure of its under-18s service, which let users aged between 13 and 17 browse and match on the app, saying it was “the right thing to do”.
Read more about the closure here.