While it’s true that users of the popular dating app have made more than 10 billion matches since it launched in 2012, Tinder has also been blamed for the demise of romance and the rise of a commitment-phobic generation, leading one young woman to complain to contributing editor Nancy Jo Sales about a “dating apocalypse.” Tinder’s twenty-something founders have perhaps exacerbated this narrative by repeatedly stepping in it themselves, including settling a sexual-harassment lawsuit that played out in the press.Now a newly launched Web site may provide Tinder with its latest existential crisis.The online dating industry has met with some of the most notable data breaches over the past few years.
For a fee, users can input into a search field the first name, age, and location of anyone whom they want to check up on. It is common among technology companies to have open A. I.s, so other companies can build ancillary products around their core experience.) Then the site displays the users who fit those criteria, allowing users to see their photos, when they logged on, and whether they are seeking out men or women.
But the man who dreamed up Swipe Buster, a software marketing employee who wishes to remain anonymous, had a different goal in mind.“There is too much data about people that people themselves don’t know is available,” he told me over the phone.
“Not only are people oversharing and putting out a lot of information about themselves, but companies are also not doing enough to let people know they’re doing it.”Swipe Buster, he said, was an attempt, albeit perhaps a prurient and sordid one, to use a popular company (Tinder) and a juicy lure (cheating) in order to educate people about how much of their personal data is out there and how easily people can get access to it without hacking or breaking rules. It changed its name and URL on Sunday evening.)He started working on the idea with a programmer and a designer he met in a Facebook group in November.
Swipe Buster subsequently retrieves the data from Tinder’s application programming interface, or A. I., which holds all of this information about its users. Tinder has long been plagued by murmurs that it facilitated cheating.
One survey conducted by Global Web Index found that 42 percent of the users it sampled were in a relationship and 30 percent of them were married (Tinder called these findings “preposterous”, claiming its own survey found just 1.7 percent of its users are married). Though the the service can be spotty—especially when searching for people in larger cities—it passed ’s unscientific test.