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posted by hubie on Monday February 26, @10:54AM   Printer-friendly
from the infinite-loops-are-baaaad dept.

Addicted to swiping right? Lawsuit claims Tinder and Hinge are designed to get users hooked.

A new lawsuit claims that dating apps Tinder and Hinge are designed to addict users and lock them into a perpetual loop.

If you're swiping on dating apps for hours, you're not alone — and a new lawsuit claims it's by design.

Dating apps such as Tinder and Hinge are intentionally addictive, a class-action lawsuit filed in federal court in California on Valentine's Day claims.

Hidden algorithms push users to stay on the apps and "gamify dating" — counterintuitive to the apps' intended purpose to help people find connections and form relationships, six plaintiffs contend in the lawsuit.

[....] "The lawsuit is a bit absurd, if I'm honest," psychologist and relationship coach Jo Hemmings told The Washington Post, adding that "responsibility lies in the hands of the user," not the apps or developers.

In the future someday people might venture outside and date actual humans in person.


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  • (Score: 5, Informative) by looorg on Monday February 26, @11:38AM

    by looorg (578) on Monday February 26, @11:38AM (#1346294)

    "Our business model is not based on advertising or engagement metrics. 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,"

    Beyond the gamification of the app that is clearly there to try and prolong engagement they are so trying to hook their punters, or potential customers or people looking for love or whatever we would like to call it.

    Not sure if they are based on advertising metrics but they sure are based on engagement metrics. Christian Rudder, one of the founders of OK Cupid which is owned by the same group of companies Match, even wrote a book about it -- Dataclysm. He goes into somewhat great detail about it and what they have and how they use it. Framed from the perspective as who they are, what they are looking for etc. All the data there is to match people, to hook people and connect them.

    If you like to call it addicting or whatever is perhaps not relevant. But they have all the data they need to string people looking along for as long as it takes. Add in user behavior data as how long do they look, when do they look, they also know when people give up or quit. They have all the data, all the patterns. People are very similar in that regard. So they know when to send offers or "the right" candidate you are looking for etc. Just so you keep being a customer a bit longer.

    After all if you find "love" then you no longer need to be a customer. If you meet someone and get married, or whatever your goal is, then you have no incentive to pay them two membership fees every month any longer. They make it sound like they are hooking people up just for the feels and love and have no financial interests at all.

    https://www.penguinrandomhouse.com/books/223045/dataclysm-by-christian-rudder/ [penguinrandomhouse.com]

  • (Score: 5, Interesting) by pkrasimirov on Monday February 26, @12:15PM

    by pkrasimirov (3358) Subscriber Badge on Monday February 26, @12:15PM (#1346296)

    It's dating app, not establishing relationship app. Like searching is not finding. It may sound like the same thing but it is not. And will get much more attention when AI gets tasked with such orders, or else we get AI nuking the world when it is tasked only with "make world peace". Tinder gets money from people using it, not when they find someone matching and no longer need the app. Also Tinder is not the best app for finding long-term partners, as one can guess from the setup -- "swipe right" can hardly be seen as a substitute for "I do" or even "I like you", for the presented information needed for the decision is vastly limited, as well as the time expected for it. Anyone expecting consistency and reliability from persons doing it is inexperienced and naive at best. Tinder presumes either no relationships or short-lived ones, and then users are expected back on the carousel.

    "Go outside" does not work with introverts or socially inept individuals. It also does not cover much area/people like the online databases. If I want to meet non-smoker tattoo-free (and other arbitrary criteria) partner who might be interested in me, it's much easier online rather than sieving people trough the town. Ability to do matching even when people are online at different times also helps a lot -- cannot do that at a bar or venue. Reading what and how someone presented for themselves also gives away a ton of information -- language, spelling, typos, picture background, picture quality etc. Chatting too, how quickly they reply, what effort do they put, these are all things speaking volumes about the other person and indicators what how it will be if said person communicates with us on daily basis. Not something I can figure out straight from a meetup. And if someone now says "chemistry" I'm going to go straight out of this conversation, been there, heard that, ate the problems trying to "fix it", meh. Take it or leave it at face value, is what I think. And there's much more face shown online than in a meeting. At the end we all know it will come up to meeting in person and maybe living together, as that's the ultimate intention.

    TL;DR: Tinder bad but Tinder not everything. Online good but not enough.

  • (Score: 5, Informative) by r_a_trip on Monday February 26, @12:38PM (6 children)

    by r_a_trip (5276) on Monday February 26, @12:38PM (#1346297)

    As a polyamorous individual, I am on a few dating apps. There are a few who conjure up a notification of people supposedly looking at your profile, when you haven't been active on them for a while. When you go look who they might be, there are no new lookers. But then you have the app open... Might as well look who the new people are and swipe a bit. The last bit is of course wholly the responsibility of the user, but the suspicious notification gets you to open the app more often then not...

    • (Score: 3, Insightful) by Anonymous Coward on Monday February 26, @01:12PM (2 children)

      by Anonymous Coward on Monday February 26, @01:12PM (#1346300)

      Apps have notifications?......

      .... I'm half-shocked. Like, you don't turn those off immediately? Apps never send me notifications. Maybe two, the messaging apps that I use to actually talk to people. Every other app's notifications are turned off the moment they create the first one.

      Like.. notifications? from an app? it's so alien to me that I just typed a reply about it.

      • (Score: 4, Funny) by Anonymous Coward on Monday February 26, @01:55PM

        by Anonymous Coward on Monday February 26, @01:55PM (#1346302)

        .... And that's why the polyamorous weirdo is getting laid and not you.

      • (Score: 2) by Ox0000 on Monday February 26, @02:23PM

        by Ox0000 (5111) on Monday February 26, @02:23PM (#1346306)

        I fall in the same bucket as you.
        Technology is like animals: they needs to be domesticated before they can be useful. Mine get their vocal cords yanked as soon as I (have to) acquire them.

        Or to put it in the words of Arrested Development: my phone is where apps are neither seen nor heard.

    • (Score: 4, Informative) by Thexalon on Monday February 26, @01:24PM (1 child)

      by Thexalon (636) on Monday February 26, @01:24PM (#1346301)

      To be fair, LinkedIn does the same thing: "Find out what your coworkers have been up to ..." and the answer is "nothing worth posting on there".

      This is what these kinds of platforms call "driving engagement".

      --
      The only thing that stops a bad guy with a compiler is a good guy with a compiler.
      • (Score: 2) by JoeMerchant on Monday February 26, @04:46PM

        by JoeMerchant (3937) on Monday February 26, @04:46PM (#1346327)

        Unlike personal relationships which (usually) expect monogamous fidelity, LinkedIn is where you can "professionally" advertise your job dissatisfaction to your current employer by the simple act of updating your resume...

        --
        🌻🌻 [google.com]
    • (Score: 2) by JoeMerchant on Monday February 26, @02:32PM

      by JoeMerchant (3937) on Monday February 26, @02:32PM (#1346309)

      I have listed a few NFTs on OpenSea - and like the majority of the trendy NFT-curious crowd, I lost interest and hadn't looked back in over a year.

      Through some random stimulus I _did_ look back at my NFTs last week, and "bing" within 12 hours I received a notice of someone else expressing interest in my NFTs as well... after over a year of no such notifications.

      Clearly, OpenSea has something similar to what you describe: trying to extend engagement. I gave them the benefit of the doubt, perhaps my activity with my NFTs put them into some kind of higher rotation and they got more views, so they got some interest. Still no meaningful sales, though...

      --
      🌻🌻 [google.com]
  • (Score: 4, Interesting) by Freeman on Monday February 26, @02:26PM (1 child)

    by Freeman (732) on Monday February 26, @02:26PM (#1346308) Journal

    *Insert newest shiny thing* is designed to hook the user into buying more. News at 11.

    --
    Joshua 1:9 "Be strong and of a good courage; be not afraid, neither be thou dismayed: for the Lord thy God is with thee"
    • (Score: 2) by JoeMerchant on Monday February 26, @02:53PM

      by JoeMerchant (3937) on Monday February 26, @02:53PM (#1346313)

      User engagement is the new advertising jingle. How to get "engagement" from your audience. Back in the "Brill Cream" (just a dab'll do ya!) days companies hired advertisers to get people "humming" their product name the most for the fewest seconds of advertising on radio/television. These days it's who can get eyeballs stuck on their app for the most hours per day... It's all much cheaper than leasing prime real-estate to get the most foot/vehicle traffic past your storefronts.

      --
      🌻🌻 [google.com]
  • (Score: 3, Insightful) by Anonymous Coward on Monday February 26, @06:27PM

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday February 26, @06:27PM (#1346350)

    "The lawsuit is a bit absurd, if I'm honest," psychologist and relationship coach Jo Hemmings told The Washington Post, adding that "responsibility lies in the hands of the user," not the apps or developers.

    Just like it's the user's fault if they were given a painkiller and are now addicted to fentanyl. The drug manufacturers are just making a product, nobody is forced to use it! People could just choose to live their lives in intense pain instead!

  • (Score: 5, Informative) by VLM on Monday February 26, @07:03PM

    by VLM (445) on Monday February 26, @07:03PM (#1346359)

    I did not read all 59 pages of the class action suit in detail, however, I clearly read more than the average SN poster...

    Most of the legacy media and SN comments discuss the supposed addictiveness of the app as the purpose of the suit.

    My glance at 59 pages of legalese indicates the main angle of the lawsuit is almost entirely different, its an advertising fraud argument. The plaintiffs were told in legally binding language that if they use the app they get to bang chicks. This was a bait and switch, all they got was a hyperaddictive bot filled swipefest and endless claims that NOW if they paid money they'd get to band chicks. There's an ancient line of business that involves no integrated circuits that has the same business model, pay money to bang chicks. Regardless of that being generally illegal, it was a secondary angle of fraud, where unlike a visit to vegas or an "asian massage parlor", paying money did not result in banging chicks, just more hyperaddictive bot filled swipefest.

    It would be like seeing advertising for a theoretical "Civilization 2030" video game portraying it as Civ as we know it, then finding out its mobile lootbox fortnite-clone shite instead of a Civ game, then the company says "ha ha you forgot to pay for Civ2030 gold membership, you'd get what you want if you pay up" and then people paid up and got scammed with a claim that "ha ha you get what you deserve for participating in the mobile gaming market". Which is all fun and games until the class action lawsuit gets filed....

    I've invested five whole minutes into reading this, which is apparently 4:59 more than the average poster, so I'm almost certainly wrong in some details yet simultaneously likely more accurate than the average post so far...

  • (Score: 4, Interesting) by VLM on Monday February 26, @07:22PM (3 children)

    by VLM (445) on Monday February 26, @07:22PM (#1346366)

    counterintuitive to the apps' intended purpose to help people find connections

    This is going to legally-speaking brutally crush them in the lawsuit.

    Think of the analogies that could be made, "I paid my Real Estate Agent to sell my house, but instead of selling my house they steered prospective buyers away as a documented corporate-wide policy to keep milking me for cash." Ever wonder why Real Estate Agents are paid by transaction instead of by hour or per diem, LOL?

    Or imagine the analogy "I paid my stockbroker a commission to get the best price on selling my shares, only to find out it was company policy to never sell shares to string along the sellers to get me to keep paying commissions in the desperate hope they ever sell my shares."

    They are just sooooo F-ed.

    The only support they're getting is from legacy media which gets a lot of advertising money from them so they are rabid supporters.

    My guess, in the long run, is the billing model for OLD will change to outright pimping, where it'll be $50, maybe even $100, to trade contact info for each 'date', not a monthly fee to string people along while intentionally never matching them.

    Honestly, I'm not trying to bang them (I guess?), but if I could pay, say, $5 for an internet startup (aka scam) company to find me a local who likes board games and matches my minimal lifestyle demands, I'd be happy. I'm not too demanding, a beer is fine, no beer is fine, getting drunk until puke on the table is a bit excessive, I'm burned out on Catan and Dominion and MtG, etc. I have no interest in paying $2/month for the idea that they might match me up someday but their corporate policy is to never match a paying customer up if at all possible to squeeze as much money as possible from the addict's subscription. I'm honestly kind of surprised BGG doesn't have IRL matchmaking as a revenue stream.

    People got money and people got needs, but trying to scam them as a middleman will result in legal issues sooner or later.

    • (Score: 5, Interesting) by Mojibake Tengu on Monday February 26, @09:58PM (2 children)

      by Mojibake Tengu (8598) on Monday February 26, @09:58PM (#1346397) Journal

      Western medicine works the same way. They keep patients ill but living as long as possible, never cure them completely.

      I have never seen a person cured completely of illness, only treated by weak drugs to prolong the disease, sometimes for decades.

      --
      Respect Authorities. Know your social status. Woke responsibly.
      • (Score: 1) by khallow on Tuesday February 27, @03:05PM

        by khallow (3766) Subscriber Badge on Tuesday February 27, @03:05PM (#1346482) Journal

        Western medicine works the same way. They keep patients ill but living as long as possible, never cure them completely.

        I have never seen a person cured completely of illness, only treated by weak drugs to prolong the disease, sometimes for decades.

        Keep in mind that neither you nor I have seen a person live long past normal human lifespans on any system of medicine. There are strict limits to what medicine can do these days.

        Further, encouraging dependency on the medicine/practitioner is a universal conflict of interest no matter the culture or technology. For example, the first emperor of China, Qin Shi Huang frequented a lot of quacks in his pursuit of immortality. Sounds like all he got for his troubles was mercury poisoning.

      • (Score: 2) by VLM on Wednesday February 28, @08:53PM

        by VLM (445) on Wednesday February 28, @08:53PM (#1346708)

        Unfortunately, I agree with you completely.

        Plenty of interest in writing a prescription, but they freak out if the patient loses weight or improves their diet because there's no recurring revenue stream.

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