Tinder is a dating app that allows single people to find others in their area who are interested in meeting up. It’s also become a notorious hotbed for people trying to find casual sex. Tinder is trying to avoid these less savory aspects of its app by promoting the more positive features. But they might be going a little too far defending their reputation.
Vanity Fair published an article its September issue called “Tinder and the Dawn of the ‘Dating Apocalypse’,” which discusses issues people in their twenties have with dating in the 2015 world. While Tinder is mentioned and sometimes in a negative way, the article isn’t a takedown or hit piece against the app. But that didn’t stop the Tinder PR people to very publicly swipe left at the article’s author.
The whole controversy started when the writer, Nancy Jo Sales, tweeted the following:
My article isn’t even about @Tinder lol— Rebel Scum (@nancyjosales) August 12, 2015
Tinder responded by saying the following:
This was the beginning of a giant tweet bomb delivered by Tinder to restore its reputation, although it probably did more harm than good. The tweets ranged from tongue-in-cheek:
-@VanityFair Little known fact: sex was invented in 2012 when Tinder was launched.— Tinder (@Tinder) August 11, 2015
To, well, bizarre:
Talk to our many users in China and North Korea who find a way to meet people on Tinder even though Facebook is banned.— Tinder (@Tinder) August 11, 2015
This is the first time ever a major corporation has ever used “North Koreans like us,” as a defense of its product.
It would be boring to read every single tweet Tinder posted in the past 24 hours about the article, but here are some of the highlights:
But it’s not going to dissuade us from building something that is changing the world. #GenerationTinder— Tinder (@Tinder) August 11, 2015
That’s right, Millennials! You’re now Generation Tinder! Forget about meeting people at an event or party. The future of humankind relies on millions of people swiping right!
Tinder users are on Tinder to meet people for all kinds of reasons. Sure, some of them — men and women — want to hook up.— Tinder (@Tinder) August 11, 2015
And by “some,” they mean most.
Our data tells us that the vast majority of Tinder users are looking for meaningful connections.— Tinder (@Tinder) August 11, 2015
Sex is very meaningful for some people.
Our actual data says that 1.7% of Tinder users are married — not 30% as the preposterous GlobalWebIndex article indicated.— Tinder (@Tinder) August 11, 2015
It’s disappointing that @VanityFair thought that the tiny number of people you found for your article represent our entire global userbase 😏— Tinder (@Tinder) August 11, 2015
It should be noted that Vanity Fair is not the first media organization to report these figures. Even the tech-focused magazine Wired reported similar results just this past spring.
Tinder then accused Sales of being unprofessional.
Next time reach out to us first @nancyjosales… that’s what journalists typically do.— Tinder (@Tinder) August 11, 2015
Which resulted in this back-and-forth between the two sides:
@Tinder not clear: are you suggesting journalists need your okay to write about you?— Rebel Scum (@nancyjosales) August 12, 2015
@nancyjosales We’re saying we appreciate journalists who uphold their obligation to fair reporting.— Tinder (@Tinder) August 12, 2015
You can read the full-response on Tinder’s Twitter feed.
Tinder was mocked around the web for this clearly over-the-top reaction to a story that, again, wasn’t actually about how bad Tinder is. In a statement to Wired, the dating app responded to the criticism of the tweets of the article by saying the following:
We have a passionate team that truly believes in Tinder. While reading a recent Vanity Fair article about today’s dating culture, we were saddened to see that the article didn’t touch upon the positive experiences that the majority of our users encounter daily. Our intention was to highlight the many statistics and amazing stories that are sometimes left unpublished, and, in doing so, we overreacted.
However, there’s evidence to suggest that this wasn’t a spur-of-the-moment decision to send out 30 tweets by some rogue member of the Tinder Social Media team. Claudia Koerner tweeted that a PR person had contacted her before Tinder’s tweet storm that the dating app was planning a major response to the article:
@summeranne I in fact got a pitch from a PR person that Tinder was about to tweet storm, and I should watch for it.— Claudia Koerner (@ClaudiaKoerner) August 12, 2015
As anyone who has ever used social media can attest, the longer your tweet or status is, the worse it is to actually post it. Short and sweet, that’s how the Internet works.
Needless to say, it’s obvious Tinder and Vanity Fair will not be swiping right to each other any time in the near future.
RELATED: The Truth About Tinder
Joseph Misulonas is an editorial assistant for Playboy.com. He is a frequent Tinder user. He is also single. He can be found on Twitter at @jmisulonas.