Gizmodo’s Thomas Germain reported that a friend began noticing his Hinge matches were suddenly meh: “unflattering photos, awkward bios, and prompts with glaring red flags.”
Further investigation revealed that this seems to be a problem across dating apps for people of all gender identities.
Why would they do that?
Dating apps typically try to match similar people, but are somewhat secretive about their algorithms. Tinder previously “scored” people based on their popularity, but has since switched methods, while eHarmony uses an 80-question compatibility quiz.
But dating apps are also here to make money:
- Tinder Platinum ($24.99/week) allows users to see who’s already swiped yes, message others before matching, and prioritizes their likes above unpaid members.
- Bumble Premium (starting at $19.99/week) includes unlimited likes, advanced filters, and more time to message back (Bumble deletes matches if the conversation stalls for too long).
- HingeX ($24.99/month) offers priority likes and “enhanced” recommendations that promise “access to people more your type.”
And it’s working. In 2021, people spent $4.2B on dating apps globally, up 30% YoY.
So they lock up features…
… but what about people?
Hinge — one of several apps, including Tinder and OkCupid, owned by Match Group — told Gizmodo that it only “shadowbans” bad actors.
However, it does use AI to determine a user’s best possible matches, then only allows you to contact them if you send them a “rose.” You get one free rose per week — but you can also buy them, of course.
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