Tinder, Hinge maker Match sued for $5m over gamified, predatory dating apps

Lawsuit alleges that Match's "predatory" model manipulates users via algorithms that reward "compulsive use"

Web Desk
The dating app Tinder is shown on a mobile phone in this picture illustration taken September 1, 2020. —Reuters
The dating app Tinder is shown on a mobile phone in this picture illustration taken September 1, 2020. —Reuters

Match, the parent company of popular dating apps Tinder, Hinge, and The League, is facing a proposed class action lawsuit that alleges its apps are intentionally designed to encourage compulsive use, prioritising profits over fostering genuine relationships, Reuters reported. 

The lawsuit, filed by six plaintiffs from California, Florida, Georgia, and New York, claims that Match's "predatory" business model manipulates users through algorithms that reward "compulsive use," leading them to subscribe and spend hundreds of dollars annually.

The plaintiffs are seeking at least $5 million and one dollar in damages under the proposed class action, according to the legal documents.

According to the complaint filed in federal court in San Francisco, Match utilises features that "gamify the platforms to transform users into gamblers locked in a search for psychological rewards that Match makes elusive on purpose." 

The lawsuit challenges Match's ad slogan, "designed to be deleted," arguing that the addictive nature of the apps contradicts this claim.

Match vehemently denies the allegations, stating, "This lawsuit is ridiculous and has zero merit." The company asserts that its business model focuses on facilitating real-world dates and emphasises a "fast-fail mentality" to discard ineffective features. 

Match CEO Bernard Kim highlighted the use of artificial intelligence to enhance user experiences on Tinder and Hinge.

The lawsuit draws parallels with other litigation against tech giants like Google, Facebook, TikTok, and Snapchat, accusing them of knowingly designing features to addict users. 

The plaintiffs allege negligence by Match and violations of state consumer protection laws, seeking unspecified damages for users who paid for the apps in the last four years. 

Additionally, they demand new warnings about addiction risks and the removal of the "designed to be deleted" language from Match's marketing.