Tinder is swiping left on teenage users. The popular dating app is banning users under the age of 18 after longstanding concerns that the company’s age requirements were too lax.
Starting next week, anyone under the age of 18 will be barred from using the dating app – which has a reputation of facilitating more hookups than it does real romances.
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“On a platform that has facilitated over 11 billion connections, we have the responsibility of constantly assessing our different user experiences,” said a Tinder spokesperson.
“Consistent with this responsibility, we have decided to discontinue service for under 18 users. We believe this is the best policy moving forward.”
Until now, users only had to be 13-years-old to sign up for the app – however, users between the ages of 13 and 17 could only match with others in that age range.
According to Tinder, this age group only represents about three per cent of their current user base.
But despite these limitations, parents and child safety advocates expressed concerns that predators could easily pose as someone under 18 to target teenage users.
“If a teenager is talking to someone who is not genuine and who could very likely be older, what’s [the perpetrator] in it for? It can easily be they are there to meet younger boys or girls,” Dr Malcolm Pattinson, cyber security expert at The University of Adelaide told The Huffington Post Australia.
“It’s one of the few situations [of a cyber security issue] where money isn’t the driving force. The goal would be sinister, and I imagine, sexual.”
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Tinder requires users to log in using their Facebook account when singing up for the app to verify their age. However, anyone can create a Facebook account using a fake birthday to alter that age.
That being said, a minor could also create a Facebook account to continue using Tinder.
A Tinder spokesperson did not comment when asked how the company would prevent users from entering fake birthdates to use the service.