Tinder has changed the face of online dating. The app which lets users swipe through potential matches racks up a staggering 1.2 billion clicks a day. Not one of my single friends doesn't have a profile and even those who're attached still enjoy having a little "browse". You can use it to date, mate, find matches on aeroplanes, clubs, new cities, your city or even your road. While it has opened up a huge arena of dating possibilities, it naturally has developed a darker side along the way. What's interesting is that the unsavoury culture that is most prolific on Tinder, has been staged out by the co-founders themselves.
Back in June co-founder Whitney Wolfe accused the company of firing her after she alleged that her boss Justin Mateen (who was also her ex-boyfriend) had sexually harassed her. Not only was it quickly discovered that he had sent her inappropriate text messages, Wolfe also claimed that Mateen had stripped her of her co-founder title, allegedly saying that having a 24-year-old female co-founder made Tinder "seem like a joke."
When Wolfe went to then-CEO Sean Rad to complain about Mateen he turned a blind eye and told her that it was his job to "keep Justin [Mateen] calm." The suit turned into a "she said - he said" legal scrap with it finally being settled by an undisclosed payout in September.
Despite Wolfe's compensation and both CEO's now being forced to leave, there's still an air that Wolfe had somehow been conniving and had manipulated the situation to her advantage. While we will never know the true in's and out's of the case, Forbes' interview, which broke the news of Rads departure, mentions nothing of the work that Wolfe did within the company. Instead it only quotes Rad defending his best friend as he explains that: "[Mateen] shut up, hurt himself and spared the team the drama." Mateen the martyr.
Whatever went on here the two CEO's are clearly not willing to take any responsibility of the sexist and crude treatment of Wolfe. It is exactly this behaviour that has ironically mirrored the darker side of Tinder as an app. Speaking only from my experience of how girls and guys use the app, I have noticed a bravado that is crueller and more destructive from male users. The language with which they talk about their female Tinder matches is often more demeaning and objectifying than how female users speak of their fellow male counterparts. Not only that, when I have brought male friends up on their excruciatingly crude comments, they legitimise their behaviour by simply saying that if a girl's on there then they should expect such things.
Mateen and Rads are two best friends that have built an incredible $1.5 billion business. But whether sexual harassment plays out in the boardroom or in the pub, there must be consequences without the said female being made to look like they've brought it upon themselves. Tinder as an app and as a business has given us two sharp wake-up calls to this.