April 18, 2024

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Tinder, Match Group sue Hinge maker over 'addictive' dating apps: NPR

Tinder, Match Group sue Hinge maker over 'addictive' dating apps: NPR

Match Group, which owns dating apps including Tinder and Hinge, was sued Wednesday in a lawsuit that claims the apps are designed to attract users so the company can make more profits, rather than help people find romantic partners.

Patrick Sisson/AP


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Match Group, which owns dating apps including Tinder and Hinge, was sued Wednesday in a lawsuit that claims the apps are designed to attract users so the company can make more profits, rather than help people find romantic partners.

Patrick Sisson/AP

Popular dating apps Tinder, Hinge and the League hook users with the promise of seemingly endless romantic matches in order to get people to pay money to continue their compulsive behavior, according to a federal lawsuit filed in San Francisco on Wednesday.

the suitbrought by six plaintiffs in states including New York, California and Florida, says the dating app's parent company Match Group manipulates the services “to turn users into gamblers seeking psychological rewards that Match intentionally places out of reach.”

While Hinge's ad slogan boasts that it's “designed to be deleted,” the lawsuit claims Match Group's dating apps are actually designed to turn users into “addicts” who never find true love and instead continue to purchase subscriptions and other paid perks to maintain true love. The revenue stream of a publicly traded company.

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The complaint, which seeks class action status, alleges that Match Group has violated state and federal consumer protection, false advertising and defective design laws.

“By harnessing powerful technologies and hidden algorithms, Match intentionally designs platforms with game-like design features, which permanently trap users in a pay-to-play loop that prioritizes corporate profits over their marketing promises and customer relationship goals,” attorneys for the plaintiffs wrote in the suit.

Many popular dating apps, like Tinder and Hinge, are free to download and use, but paid subscriptions to premium features are required to get unlimited swipes, or access to desired singles in the app. For example, users can spend $3.99 on Hinge to send a “rose” to a “featured” profile.

A Match Group spokesperson denied the allegations in Valentine's Day's lawsuit, saying they were “ridiculous and have no merit.”

The spokesperson continued: “Our business model is not based on ads or engagement metrics. We strive to get people into appointments every day and off our apps. Anyone who mentions anything else doesn't understand the purpose and mission of our entire industry.” “

Studies point anywhere From 10% to Almost half of couples in the United States who met through online dating.

With notifications and other features that try to keep users engaged, apps can be difficult to stop, which is intentional by design, according to the lawsuit, which claims Match Group's dating apps “are intended to diminish users' ability to disengage.”

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Such tactics aren't limited to the world of online dating — most social media platforms Recruitment notifications And features like “infinite scrolling,” which makes people scroll through their screens in a mindless, almost irresistible way.

The question the lawsuit poses is: Does Match Group have to disclose the potentially addictive quality of these popular design features? Does the company’s failure to warn constitute a violation of consumer protection laws?

The legal action against Match Group joins a new batch of lawsuits challenging tech companies, including Google, Instagram owner Meta, and TikTok, in an attempt to hold the platforms accountable for exacerbating the mental health crisis in young people.

Because tech companies enjoy broad immunity from lawsuits under a legal shield known as Section 230, the new slate of lawsuits are attacking tech companies under new claims, including product liability and defective design.

Lawyers for the plaintiffs who sued Match on Wednesday cited journalist Nancy Jo Sales, who directed the documentary. Passed: Pinning in the Digital Age.

Tinder co-founder Jonathan Badden told Jo Sales that the dating app's swiping feature was partly inspired by a famous experiment conducted by behavioral psychologist B.F. Skinner. In it, Skinner “turned pigeons into gamblers” by giving them food at random intervals. But the pigeons thought their pecking caused the food to appear, causing the birds to tap non-stop on their trays.

“Just as pigeons can be conditioned to peck at set intervals, users can also be conditioned to peck endlessly,” according to the lawsuit, which asks the court, among other remedies, to order Match to launch an advertising campaign that reveals nature Bath addiction. The company's dating apps.

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Case references Study 2020 In the terms “ghosting” and “breadcrumbing” are used to describe a dating app match who suddenly disappears or gives only intermittent interest.

“Users with an unlimited number of swipes will chase the elusive highest level of matching, match more often, and fall victim to ghosting and hopping at higher rates,” the lawsuit claims.

This, in turn, significantly increases the likelihood of feeling less life satisfaction and increased feelings of loneliness and helplessness, the lawsuit claims.