Tinder has announced that the app will soon introduce an option that only allows women to send the first message. Previously, both parties could interact with each other freely after becoming matches.
“Often, women don’t really want the pressure of kicking off the conversation, but if they want it, that’s great,” said Match Group CEO Mandy Ginsberg. Match Group owns Tinder, along with other dating services such as OkCupid and Match.com.
This is an attempt to “curtail bad behavior, any negative behavior or advances, and inappropriate communication,” said Ginsberg.
It appears that this company is finally taking notes from co-founder Whitney Wolfe, who left and sued Tinder after being sexually harassed through the app. She went on to create Bumble, a social and dating app where women make the first move in heterosexual encounters.
“I had experienced a lot of strangers on the internet, calling me a lot of names. It affected me so deeply and made me so sad. It made my confidence go to zero,” said Wolfe.
Allowing men to freely chat with the women they matched with opened up a window for harassment. It also facilitated the idea that women shouldn’t make the first move, which left many women feeling controlled by a man’s actions. When Wolfe left Tinder, she knew what she wanted and what she didn’t want in a dating app.
“You have to start a business to solve something that’s a personal pain point. That’s where the best businesses come from,” said Wolfe. “It is our hope and our wish, that as women join [Bumble], they will find the confidence to go after what they want. If that’s making the first move on the app, or if that’s making the first move in business or friendship, go after the life you want.”
Bumble has around 20M users worldwide and more than 50,000 new users join every day. The app has sections for hetero and homosexual individuals seeking romantic relationships but also has sections for people just looking to make friends or to network with other professionals. With Bumble doing so well, it makes sense for Tinder to want to implement the same features that make Bumble unique.
Ginsberg claims that Tinder’s new feature is “not a reaction to any competitor,” but rather a result of years of company research regarding how its dating brands could better serve female users.
However, Wolfe left the company after online sexual harassment in May 2014 and started Bumble in December of the same year. It didn’t take years of research for her to understand how dating apps could provide an overall safer and healthier experience for female users, so why did it take Tinder so long?
Wolfe has previously stated that Bumble applauds any company making business decisions that empower women and has not made any other comments about the changes to Tinder. Regardless of the competition, we should stand with Wolfe and applaud Tinder for changing their operations to help women feel safer on the app.
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