An upcoming Tinder update will forever transform the dating app, converting it from a dating site that is sometimes misconstrued as a hook-up service to something closer to a social network.
Tinder Social, as it is being termed, is a group meet-up feature that is already available in Australia, and will soon be rolled out globally. The update will basically allow you to create groups with your existing friends, and with matches you’ve made via the app, and connect with other groups. Although the blog post revealing the new feature is sparse on details, it seems that Tinder Social will also allow you to broadcast your group’s location, allowing others to meet up with you at a desired place (such as a bar or restaurant).
“It’s a way to go places full of people you’ve already matched with, making socializing so much easier once you’re out and about,” reads the post on Tinder’s website. “Whether you’re looking for groups you share common interests with, or you’re looking for a completely new adventure, Tinder Social is a better way to go out with friends.”
As is usually the case with Tinder’s open platform, users will likely make what they want of the new feature. Although Tinder explicitly states that this is not a “group dating” option, who’s to stop users from using it for exactly that purpose?
And wasting no time, there already seems to be a growing backlash to the new social function. After many users complained that it would ‘out’ all the people who use the dating app in secret, Tinder was forced to add an update to its blog post announcing the feature.
Tinder has now stated that users who prefer not to be added to groups can opt out of Tinder Social via the settings tab. “It’s important to note Tinder’s not a secret considering 70 percent of users download Tinder because their friends recommend it,” explains the company.
What Tinder doesn’t address, however, is that some members are almost certainly in relationships already, and may be using the dating app without their partner’s consent — meaning Tinder Social could open up a can of worms as damaging as the Ashley Madison data dump.
The company also doesn’t take into account contacts that aren’t friends, such as colleagues. Maybe one day everyone will accept Tinder as a pleasant place to meet new people, but until then some users would rather a disapproving work mate (or boss) not find out that they’re on it.
For Tinder itself, the feature is likely aimed at alleviating concerns regarding two of the app’s biggest criticisms, namely promiscuity and safety. Remaking itself into something akin to a social network may not only make the app more popular, but could also erase the damaging “hook-up service” tag that has plagued Tinder since its inception.
The safety aspect obviously comes from the ability to go out in groups, instead of on one-on-one dates. Seeing as the dating app has repeatedly been attacked regarding its connection to a rise in sex crimes, any steps it can take in changing that negative image will be greeted as positive.
Tinder Social also ties in with the app’s recent emphasis on social matchmaking. The update — which marks a major shift in Tinder’s approach to dating — expands upon its recent match-sharing feature, which allows users to send another candidate’s profile to their friends via text or email.
In March, we reported on Tinder’s acquisition of contact management startup Humin, and this planned update could be the first to integrate the company’s location-based tech.
Tinder has yet to reveal exactly when the update will be available outside of Australia.