Tinder sued after ‘addicting’ users to dating apps instead of finding them love

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dating app Tinder is shown on a mobile phone

The owner of Tinder has been accused of addicting users to endless swiping on apps rather than helping them find true love.

In a US lawsuit filed on Valentine’s Day, dating app users accused Tinder’s parent company Match of “prioritising profits over relationship goals”.

A Match spokesman called the lawsuit “ridiculous”, rejecting claims of negligence and false marketing.

The tech giant, which also owns Hinge, has marketed some of its services on the basis they are “designed to be deleted”, although the critics allege they are “designed to be addictive”.

The claimants have accused Match of destroying a millennium of “traditional courtship”.

“An in-person conversation with a stranger cannot compete with the convenience of swiping left or right on a profile,” the lawsuit claims.

Filed in California, the users suing Match argue its apps are not designed to encourage people to enter “off-app” relationships but rather they are intent on keeping them hooked and swiping.

In recent years, matchmaking apps have added subscription plans that allow users to pay for extra features, such as unlimited likes.

The claimants allege these additions help to “feed” their addiction.

The claimants also accuse Tinder of using push notifications to encourage compulsive use and punish users who disengage.

For instance, the app will threaten to hide a user’s profile if they stop using it for too long.

Match has also been criticised for launching increasingly expensive payment plans, including a $500 per month premium tier that allows Tinder users to match with “sought-after” accounts.

A Match spokesman said the lawsuit, which is seeking class-action status, has “zero merit”.

They said: “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 lawsuit comes as the technology industry faces mounting legal claims over the allegedly addictive nature of social media apps.

Hundreds of US schools have sued Facebook-owner Meta, TikTok and Snapchat over claims their apps are harmful to children. The tech giants have disputed the allegations.

The claims against Match cited a survey by dating website eHarmony that claimed as many as 90pc of single dating app users felt they were addicted, while half admitted to checking the apps before they went to bed.

The lawsuit argued that Match’s dating apps could harm users’ mental health, claiming they led to “decreased self-esteem, dissatisfaction with current relationships, and feelings of loneliness and depression”.

According to US polling data, around 10pc of people in committed relationships or married met their partner on a dating app or website.

Meanwhile, a study published by the journal Computers in Human Behaviour found that couples who met via online dating were reportedly less satisfied.

It comes as Match has seen its subscriber numbers decline in recent months as it struggles to attract younger users.

The dating app, which previously relied on word-of-mouth marketing, has launched a major advertising campaign to capture new users.

In its latest financial report, Match said it had found that Gen Z users were seeking “a lower pressure, more authentic way to find connections”.

It said Tinder would focus in future on “delivering a more inclusive experience for all genders and sexual identities”.

In January, Match reported that paying subscribers across its services declined by 5pc year on year to around 15.2m.

Yet, despite the fall, dating remains one of the most lucrative services across smartphone apps.

Globally, dating apps generated almost $6bn in revenues in 2023, according to app analysts

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