Tinder, the dating app notorious for translating physical attraction into the swipe of a single fingertip, has launched a group dating feature. Tinder Social has been rolled out on a trial basis in Australia, but has been met with alarm after users realised the new feature exposes Facebook friends that also use the app.
In a blog post announcing the launch of Tinder Social, the company presents the function as a means to meet people on a platonic basis, promising to take “an average night out with your friends to the next level”.
Users included in the trial are now able to join public groups consisting of Facebook contacts, and others can add them to these groups without permission. Crucially, these features are opt-out rather than opt-in; Tinder might out a person as a user of its app before an individual has a chance to turn the feature off.
This, of course, could include people already in relationships.
Upon clicking “start a group” within the app, users are shown a list of their Facebook friends who are also on Tinder. It’s unclear whether Facebook friends shown in this list are active users, or just those with a Tinder account.
It is then possible to match with other groups, and view which Facebook friends are within each group.
There is an option for users to turn this feature off in settings, hiding their presence on the app from Facebook and preventing others adding them to groups, but users will have to choose to do this manually.
Despite the fact that Tinder is promoting the new social feature as an easier means to connect with friends, this feature is still worrying users who do not want to broadcast their use of the app.
Of equal concern is that Facebook friends will be able to access each others’ Tinder profiles. Australians have taken to social media to express privacy concerns:
Group dating online or dedicated apps for dates featuring multiple parties are not a new thing. Grouper and Smeeters are just two examples operating in that market.
But Tinder’s selling of Social as a way to arrange social events with friends represents a shift from its reputation as a hook-up service for casual sex, moving into territory of social networks which arrange IRL (in real life) meet-ups such as, well, Meetup.
Tinder’s blog states that, while Social is currently only available in Australia, the feature will be rolled out worldwide soon.