What's the deal with the dating app lawsuit?

What's the deal with the dating app lawsuit?

The age of reading newspapers in the bathroom is out – Tinder on the toilet is in. What was supposed to be a quick scroll through your phone has now turned into 30 minutes on everyone’s favorite oh-so-addicting phone game: dating apps. 

The swiping fury so many of us have become accustomed to isn’t without controversy, though. In February, six plaintiffs in California filed a federal lawsuit against Match Group, the company which owns apps like Tinder, Hinge, and the League. The grounds for their suit? The plaintiffs claim the company has turned online dating into gambling, hooking users on the endless swiping, rather than living up to their slogans, like Hinge’s “designed to be deleted.” 

Why is this a legal issue, exactly? If the plaintiffs are successful in their suit, it means that Match Group’s (in)famous dating apps have been acting in violation of consumer protection laws and falsely advertising. In prioritizing looping users into expensive subscriptions for extra “roses” and “super likes,” these apps are facing accusations of losing sight of their advertised claim – helping users find love. 

Apps like Hinge which were previously favored over their notoriously gamified counterparts have recently found themselves under fire not just for their addictive manipulation tactics, but also for the matches themselves. One TikTok user said seeing the profiles which “liked” her on Hinge actually decreased her confidence, saying “I am only attracting unattractive men on Hinge.” She isn’t alone in the sentiment – many users responded with an outpouring of disappointment in the users Hinge targets their profile towards. The term “rose jail” was coined by big-sister-influencer Tinx to describe the users who might meet those compatibility boxes, but you can’t like or message – unless you pay up. 

I’ve downloaded and deleted, and downloaded and deleted, and downloaded and deleted numerous dating apps in frustration. I’ll get on the apps feeling optimistic – maybe I’ll meet someone new – only to quickly find myself unwilling to actually message anyone I’ve matched with. This is part of the problem, I’m part of the problem. Yet, quitting the dating app game is much tougher than it sounds. They’ve become a vital part of modern dating culture. 

Sure, we all know that amazing, long-lasting couple that had their start on a Match Group platform, but is this enough to say these apps are actually working with consumers’ interest in mind?

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