It’s going down, I’m yelling Tinder!

Now here’s an interesting bit from this week’s news: Tinder, the popular mobile dating app, has suddenly been flooded with non-human user often referred to as bots. These bots seem to have one purpose, first conversing with the user but then they suddenly recommend a game called “Castle Crash”. Furthermore, they link to a “tinderverified.com”, further attempting to trick the user. Afterwards, the bots even hint at giving you their phone number if you beat them.

There are some ethical questions raised here that I would like to consider. For one, is it ethical to have bots masquerading as humans? What about on dating websites? Additionally, does Tinder have a duty to stop spammers?

In my opinion, it is unethical to have bots pretend to be humans. In general, when paired with someone on Tinder, the user expects to be able to have a conversation with a genuine human being. Applying act utilitarianism, this evolution from spam email causes the users and the creators of the service unhappiness, meaning that it is unethical. Additionally, rule utilitarianism has a similar outcome. If everyone used bots to spam each other, there would be less happiness. We could possibly also apply moral rights theory and say that people have a right to know who they are talking to, whose duties would say that you have to be honest about your identity. Following this, the spam is unethical as well.

Considering the question regarding Tinder’s duty to stop spammers, I think this is true. If people are creating misleading links using the Tinder name, this tricks users and could reduce their happiness. Seeing as I’m hinting toward another utilitarian perspective, we could regard Tinder’s action, or rather inaction, as unethical.

I look forward to comments!

2 Responses to It’s going down, I’m yelling Tinder!

  1. This is a very interesting topic, and i feel like it applies to a lot facets in technology today. Most of us today have heard of “catfishing”, the act of pretending to be someone else on the internet in hopes that you can trick another person that you are in fact who you claim to be. In some cases this can be dangerous; physically, mentally or financially. The case you are talking about takes pretending to be someone else to a different level, using bots instead of humans. But the desired outcome could still be the same as if it were a person “catfishing.” Most likely the people creating the bots are looking to scam the tinder users. It seems that using bots is like casting a big net in hopes that some people fall for the scam. This can have big legal implications as well as ethical issues involved. since this is more a topic focusing on ethical issues, that’s what i’ll discuss.

    it seems that using bots in place of humans to scam or spam people is very unethical. as for dating websites like tinder, the ethical issues seem to be amplified. using a dating website for a scam or spam by pretending to be an actual person is more unethical because you are playing on people’s emotions. people using the site might have a their guard lowered and be more inclined to giving up personal information in hopes that they might get to meet or start a relationship with someone. As, for your last point about tinder’s duty, i believe that tinder does have a duty to stop this from happening to the best of their ability. they have the incentive to control this for their own reputation. if they let this go and there is a large number of theses bots, people will stop using the tinder service. they also have the duty to stop this for the users. people should be able to use services like this in confidence, especially when the users can be relatively easy to moderate and screen.

  2. Using bots to pretend to be humans on a dating site is a pretty sneaky way to get someone to play advertised games. This action is legal, but most definitely frowned upon. This is a way to get people just to play a game, but anyone should be clever enough to distinguish the difference between someone on a dating site trying to find love and a automated message sender. The responses that someone would get from a bot would be pretty cliche and easily recognizable as fake. This doesn’t make it the right thing to do though.

    People that get on dating sites tend to have low self-esteem and bad dating skills. They have to build up the courage to even use the site in the first place, so when they get a fake bot trying to get them to play a game for their phone number, they’ll probably believe its real. This affects their ability to trust anyone on the site, thus giving up on happiness and love. This is a cruel thing to do but it is indeed legal. Some may say that this app, and many others like it should be banned, but you can’t ban people that create bots. So we have to get computer savvy and know when we’re being tricked, or don’t use these apps at all.