Technology and Humanity//

Courts Swipe Left on Tinder’s Ageist Policies

A recent verdict declares the app's pricing variations are discriminatory.

Tinder, the dating app that’s notorious for transforming the way people meet and hook-up, was recently sued on the grounds that their pricing policy violates age discrimination laws. Yesterday, as Tech Crunch reports, a California appeals court sided in favor of the plaintiff, Allan Candelore.

The suit was specific to Tinder Plus — an upgrade to the original version that gives users extra capabilities, like being able to “rewind” or undo your swipe (because g-d forbid you should accidentally swipe right on the internet version of someone you’re not totally attracted to!). This is where things get legally questionable: if you’re under 30, you only have to pay $9.99 for the upgrade, but if you’re older, it’s $19.99. This, according to the plaintiff (and later, the courts) is in direct violation of California’s Unruh Civil Rights Act and Unfair Competition Law.

When Tinder Plus was first announced in 2015, co-founder Sean Rad defended the pricing model, “Our intent is to provide a discount for our younger users,” he said. “It’s not about necessarily optimizing for the dollars we bring in. It’s about optimizing for the number of people we can bring in.”

That’s nice, Mr. Rad, but the California courts beg to differ. The judge found the pricing structure to stand on arbitrary ideas and “class based generalizations.” Better yet, as Gizmodo points out, he actually made a Tinder-related joke while declaring his verdict. After asserting that there’s no policy that justifies the pricing differences, he joked, “accordingly, we swipe left, and reverse.”

Read more about the case here

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