Tinder has added an app link that lets users locate the nearest STD clinic. It follows criticism from an HIV testing and prevention agency.
The app won’t carry out the search itself, even though by definition it know the user’s location. Instead Tinder is simply adding a link in the FAQ section of the app. It’s also adding a health and safety section to its website.
The move appears to have been prompted by a direct attack from the AIDS Healthcare Foundation (AHF) which last year put up billboards with a couple in silhouette, with one head bearing the Tinder logo and the other “chlamydia.” A second billboard featured two male heads and referred to Grindr and gonorrhoea.
The move followed some reports suggesting a link between the rise of casual dating apps and diagnosis of sexually transmitted conditions, some of which are on the rise for the first time in a decade. However, the reports gave little clear evidence of a direct causal link.
The billboards so upset Tinder that its lawyers issued a cease and desist letter listing a string of alleged legal breaches including product disparagement and trade libel.
The two sides appear to have made up, with the AHF agreeing to withdraw the campaign and welcoming the addition of the testing link.
In a way it’s a shame that the obvious data privacy concerns prevent social networking and dating companies from going further. I’ve always thought that, in an ideal world where companies can be trusted to keep data confidential, it would be hugely effective to have a Facebook app where people could register their hookups with other users and then if somebody was diagnosed with a sexually transmitted infection they could register it and have the system automatically and anonymously warn everyone in their extended sexual network to get a test.