Tinder wants to help people better understand their potential dates by integrating a ‘Facebook stalking made easier’ feature that would allow matches to see updates on profile pictures, new Instagram posts and recent top songs from Spotify.
The decision is based on the reality that a lot of real-life Tinder dates involve extensive “research” before actually sitting down for dinner. Called ‘Feed’ its going to resemble a Facebook newsfeed filled with people you either dated, thought about dating or rejected from a date.
Ironically, the least likely person to be found on this newsfeed will be the one date that actually worked out.
It will allow users to send messages based on the feed — but worry not! it is only limited to matches and the messages will be private DMs (which I would argue would make things worse) .
All of this means the app has officially descended from the second ring to the third in Dante’s Hell.
In Inferno, the second ring of hell is lust, and while that is an unfair generalisation of Tinder (everyone knows a very legitimate ‘Tinder couple’), it does have certain merits. The swiping, the ghosting, the ‘grass is greener’ effect. Lust.
What makes the metaphor perfect is the third ring of hell is ‘gluttony’. We are not satisfied with shallow hot-or-not decision making. We are demanding more information about people we don’t know. People we hope we will someday love.
That Britney-binge you took last month after one-too-many glasses of wine? Could be a deal breaker.
This enhanced creepiness does not help us make smart decision. Rather, we are simply shoveling information into our brains without processing the ‘why’. Gluttony.
Spotify is strange, Instagram is scary
The Spotify integration is aesthetically annoying and a bit weird, but it’s not overly problematic. My 2017 wrapped told me I love Lil’ Wayne (which I already knew), I listen to the same music of most people my age (kind of interesting) and that, unfortunately, I fell victim to the ‘Despacito’ hit machine (which I also knew).
This is just data vomit and, like real vomit, data vomit is harmless.
The Instagram integration is more insidious. Tinder is already a cesspool of creepy messages, dick pics and bullying. Because matches are based purely on physical appearance, it is inherently a shallow exercise. Now we are supposed to open our social media feeds to that guy/gal we decided was cute in a half-second decision making process?
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Optimistically, Tinder would argue it is embracing the reality of internet stalking and is just making it more convenient.
The problem is, in the real world, the internet is full of horrible people and its fairly easy to imagine someone falling victim to intense harassment based entirely on the contents of their Instagram. There is a reason so many people put their Instagram profiles to private.
Tinder says it puts users in control of what they share, but in the spirit of this hyper-cynical column, my reaction is, “Gee thanks Tinder for burdening me with another profile I need to manage”. It’s like giving your boyfriend/girlfriend a bird as a gift.
While it is amusing to think of people scrolling through the lives of one-night stands while commuting to work, it falls under that dark, ‘laugh through the pain’ sense of humour.
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At the moment, the product is only available in Australia, Canada and New Zealand and so far it is still in the testing phase.
For the sake of all things decent, let’s hope it stays there.