Swept away: The dark side of dating apps
Journalist Nancy Jo Sales has long been the leading authority on the impact of the advent of life online on our dating.
In addition to his New York Times bestselling book, “American Girls: Social Media and the Secret Lives of Teenage Girls“, Sales directed the accompanying 2018 HBO documentary film,” Swiped: Hooking Up in the Digital Age “.
The film was a fascinating exploration of how the accessibility and importance of dating apps rewire our cultural approach to sex and dating. He also criticized the more nefarious motivations behind many of these apps in how they turn the search for love into a profitable addiction.
“It’s designed to be addictive almost immediately when you first start using the app. And I did an interview with Jonathan Badeen, who is one of the co-founders of Tinder, and he spoke very openly and almost proud of the fact that it was very addicting and that they designed it to be addictive, ”Sales told WPR’s“ BETA ”.
Sales herself knows this firsthand.
Her latest book on the subject turns inward and reflects on her own journey through the emotional glove of dating apps. It’s called, “Nothing Personal: My Secret Life in the Inferno Dating App. “
“I got hooked,” Sales admitted. “But, it’s really no different from anyone who uses the app. And that’s kind of what I was trying to point out. You might not even notice you are or realize you are. not count, but what do you call it when you swipe over an app for hours a day or at least hours a week? I mean, survey found 18-35 year olds slip on dating apps for up to 10 hours per week. “
In most cases, the only relationship a user ends up finding is one with the app itself. Sales say that’s the business model.
“The real business model is to get you to engage perpetually and as often as possible with the app itself,” she said. “Use and use is what drives these businesses and all over social media, for that matter. Numbers ! in person.”
The addictive properties of dating apps like Tinder, Bumble, and Hinge are just the start. There is also something more sinister at play.
“I think one of the biggest concerns is that this is a bad faith proposition when it comes to business,” Sales said. “What they market to people is different than what apps do to the people who use them. And they know it. I mean, they made them.”
According to sales, these companies amass tons of data from internal surveys and application usage reports. In addition, there is external information compiled by Pew Research. She says this highlights the dichotomy between the promise and the reality of these apps.
“We know the majority of women on dating apps will see an unsolicited nude image, and it’s something women have already been conditioned to accept in dating. But it’s outrageous and it is. makes it a crime in many places, ”Sales mentioned. “There is a huge problem with dating apps and sexual assault which is so under-discussed.“
In addition, these apps and their algorithms have a strong tendency to reinforce racial and other prejudices.
“Algorithms are your matchmaker. What algorithms do is if you swipe on certain people, they show you more people like that. They tend to reinforce racism, racial preferences in dating,” he said. declared Sales.
Additionally, there is very little monitoring of user profiles which may contain racist, capable, and shameful content that potential users cannot block.
“A person of color can go on a dating app and see someone’s profile who could come in their flow, something racist. People are also empowered on these apps and they shame them. So that’s the non-algorithmic way it happens, ”Sales said.
“The biggest problem is that it’s not safe and yet it’s kind of become something that people are willing to put up with; and I don’t think we should be willing to put up with it, because there are so many things dating apps can do to change that, ”said Sales.
Sales aren’t overly optimistic that these apps will evolve out of selflessness. She points out that there was a congressional investigation in age by checking out those apps, which they don’t have. Sales believe that political influence is likely to be the only motivating factor for real and substantial change in these companies.
“I don’t think they are going to change until there is real pressure on them to change. I really think politicians need to get involved,” she said. “There needs to be a serious investigation into this industry. And politicians need to act to protect users because dating apps won’t.”