Tinder has introduced a new feature which allows users to pay extra money in order to contact people who they haven’t actually matched with. Sounds problematic? Yep, you’d be right there.
According to The Independent, the dating app has rolled out a new “ultra-premium” Tinder Select Function which costs £4,925 per year. This VIP option enables users of the app to get in contact with people they have not matched with. It’s the first time that Tinder has ever released a feature of this kind. As stated by the app, it will only be available to less than one per cent of users—specifically those who’re deemed as “extremely active”.
Considering the fact that a number of dating apps in recent years have been at the forefront of protecting the rights of women and those most vulnerable online, it’s beyond disappointing to see Tinder introduce a feature which will so plainly put dozens of women at risk. It truly feels as though the app is going backwards.
The End Violence Against Women Coalition, an activist group which was founded in 2005, has expressed its fears over the new feature: “We’re concerned this feature could increase harassment and abuse of women on dating apps, which is already a huge issue and could potentially be exploited by perpetrators of domestic abuse, enabling them to find new communication channels with women.”
Serious issues such as stalking, domestic abuse, and cyberflashing have all been raised following the announcement of the Tinder Select feature.
According to a 2020 report conducted by the Pew Research Center, it was discovered that six-in-ten women under the age of 35 who have used online dating sites or apps say someone continued to contact them after they said they were not interested. In comparison, only 27 per cent of men in this age group had similar experiences.
Consent is such a vital part of online dating, and giving users the option to buy their way into someone’s DMs, puts so many people at risk of unwanted attention and harassment.
Speaking with The Independent, Seyi Akiwowo, founder and chief executive of Glitch, an anti-online abuse charity, said: “Tinder Select is certainly a cause for concern. The abuse that’s enabled through dating apps reflects a broader, socially sanctioned and unrelenting power imbalance that leaves women around the world pursued, harassed and violated daily.”
Moreover, there’s also something to be said about dating apps introducing more and more paid and tiered subscriptions. Why is it that now the most ‘exclusive’ and ‘desirable’ aspects of online dating, are now basically hidden behind a paywall? The entire thing is beyond corrupt, and I don’t know about you, but it’s making me want to throw in the towel altogether. Tinder may insist it’ll put numerous safeguards in place for this new feature, but it’s undeniable that this scheme feels more skeezy than romantic.