Tinder, Hinge ‘deliberately’ turn users into swiping addicts, lawsuit says Meilleur site de rencontre en 2024 entre adulte

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Are dating apps turning us into addicts instead of helping us find love? Yes, claims a lawsuit brought against the owner of Tinder, Hinge and The League.

In a class-action lawsuit filed Feb. 14 — Valentine’s Day — six dating app users accused Match Group of having a “predatory” business model and deliberately “employing psychologically manipulative features to ensure they remain on the app perpetually as paying subscribers.” The lawsuit argues that Match’s apps violate consumer protection laws.

“Match intentionally designs the Platforms with addictive, game-like design features, which lock users into a perpetual pay-to-play loop that prioritizes corporate profits over its marketing promises and customers’ relationship goals,” said the lawsuit, which was filed in a U.S. federal court in California.

The plaintiffs said that the apps, which are used by millions of people around the world, use “powerful technologies and hidden algorithms” to keep users hooked and continuing to pay.

Dating apps rely on users’ purchases of subscriptions and premium features marketed as bringing people closer to love, the lawsuit said, arguing that, in reality, users are being drawn into “compulsive” usage that does not help them meet their relationship goals.

In a statement to news outlets, Match called the lawsuit “ridiculous” and defended its business model, saying that it is “not based on advertising or engagement metrics” and that “we actively strive to get people on dates every day and off our apps.”

“Anyone who states anything else doesn’t understand the purpose and mission of our entire industry,” the company said.

While Tinder, for example, is free to download, users are offered to purchase a catalogue of premium features such as “unlimited likes” and “boost,” a feature that allows users to be presented as one of the top profiles in their area for a limited time, increasing their visibility to other users and therefore, as the app says, maximizing their chances of a match.

“The lawsuit is a bit absurd, if I’m honest,” psychologist and relationship coach Jo Hemmings told The Washington Post in a phone interview Monday, adding that “responsibility lies in the hands of the user” and not with the apps or developers themselves.

“Like any app, it’s a business; it’s there to make money,” she said, adding that other apps do exactly the same thing when it comes to attracting and retaining users.

“Shopping apps are designed to keep you shopping,” she said. “And this is shopping for people.”

Other experts say Tinder’s interface plays a large part in encouraging users to continue swiping, in turn gamifying their quest for love.

In the book “Ethics in Design and Communication: Critical Perspectives,” designer and researcher Sarah Edmands Martin wrote that Tinder’s design, which presents users with profile cards of potential matches stacked on top of one another, means users “are urged onward” to the next profile “peeking from below the current card, subtly pressuring a user to move on.”

“An avatar on Tinder has only seconds to communicate its worth,” Martin wrote, adding that “in real life, one does not have a near-limitless supply of disposable lovers readily available.”

Finding love, sex and harassment on dating apps

The lawsuit also accused Match of violating laws on false advertising and defective design, saying its apps are trying to entrench users on the app and prioritizing profits over its marketing promises.

“Match affirmatively represents the Platforms as effective tools for establishing off-app relationships while secretly doing everything in its power to capture and sustain paying subscribers and keep them on-app,” the lawsuit said.

The lawsuit cited Hinge’s slogan — “designed to be deleted” — and accused the app of inspiring users to do the opposite.

About 30 percent of U.S. adults have used dating apps, according to a survey published last year by the Pew Research Center involving 6,034 adults, with Tinder topping the list, followed by Match and Bumble. (Match Group owns Match, while competitor Badoo owns Bumble.)

More than a third of online dating users said they have paid to use those platforms, including for extra features, the survey found. Pew’s report also noted that those who use dating platforms — be it to find a long-term partner or something more casual — are divided over whether their experiences have been positive or negative.

Welcome to the age of automated dating

Experts have long warned of the addictive consequences that apps can have on people — especially children.

In 2018, 50 psychologists wrote a letter calling for the American Psychological Association to do more to protect children from becoming hooked on social media. The group cited “hidden manipulation techniques” used by platforms to entice children and “increase kids’ overuse of digital devices, resulting in risks to their health and well-being.”

Hemmings suggested that users of dating apps who are concerned they might be addicted to such platforms should limit their time online and use the apps “mindfully.” When it comes to paying extra for features, Hemmings suggested that people set a budget, asking themselves: “What can I afford to pay per month, or per week, to do this?”

Hemmings said people should also assess their reasons for using dating platforms. “It’s about using the app mindfully,” she said. “Set aside some time to pause and look at people and don’t swipe, swipe, swipe.”

And people should not consider dating apps their only option, she said. “There are many other ways of meeting people.”

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