Dating Apps Turn Users Into 'Compulsive' 'Addicts': Lawsuit

Tinder, Hinge, etc., encourage incessant use while making rewards 'elusive on purpose'
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Feb 15, 2024 1:13 PM CST
Dating Apps Want You Addicted to Swiping Right: Lawsuit
The icon for the dating app Tinder appears on a device in 2020. Tinder, Hinge, and other dating apps are designed with addictive features that encourage "compulsive" use, a proposed class action lawsuit against parent company Match Group claims.   (AP Photo/Patrick Sison, File)

Stuck in a dating app loop with no date in sight? A lawsuit filed Wednesday against Match Group claims that's by design. As the AP reports, Tinder, Hinge, and other Match dating apps are filled with addictive features that encourage "compulsive" use, the proposed class-action lawsuit claims. The lawsuit filed in federal court in the Northern District of California on Wednesday—ahem, Valentine's Day—says Match intentionally designs its dating platforms with game-like features that "lock users into a perpetual pay-to-play loop" prioritizing profit over promises to help users find relationships. This, the suit claims, turns users into "addicts" who purchase ever-more-expensive subscriptions to access special features that promise romance and matches.

"Match's business model depends on generating returns through the monopolization of users' attention, and Match has guaranteed its market success by fomenting dating app addiction that drives expensive subscriptions and perpetual use," the lawsuit says. It was filed by six dating app users and seeks class-action status. Dallas-based Match did not immediately comment. Though it focuses on adults, the lawsuit comes as tech companies face increasing scrutiny over addictive features that harm young people's mental health. Match's apps, according to the lawsuit, "employs recognized dopamine-manipulating product features" to turn users into "gamblers locked in a search for psychological rewards that Match makes elusive on purpose."

(More online dating stories.)

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