Posted: January 15, 2015, 10:12 a.m.
by Kelsey Weiss.
Oh, Tinder. Some people love you; some people hate you. The mere mention of your name either causes an adrenaline rush or brings chills down spines — depending on who you ask.
With more than 1 billion “swipes” daily, it’s likely that you know someone with their own Tinder experience. Maybe someone you know moved to a new city and went on a Tinder date that ended fabulously. Maybe they’ve since walked down the aisle solely due to that fateful right swipe. Or maybe someone you know met their friendly neighborhood creep instead of the charming, 5-foot-11 soccer player with green eyes they chatted with for weeks.
No matter what purpose Tinder fulfills for you, everyone seems to have their own opinion, and story, about the little app that has revolutionized the millennial dating scene. Due to recent news, however, those opinions may change for the worse.
The Tinder-hearted truth
This past summer, Tinder found itself in quite a bit of hot water. In July, Tinder executive Whitney Wolfe accused then-CMO Justin Mateen of sexual harassment. In a high-profile case, Wolfe detailed the mistreatment she experienced as co-founder and vice president of marketing for the app — and Mateen’s ex-girlfriend.
The case has since been settled, with Wolfe exiting the company; Mateen has resigned his position after a prolonged suspension. However, details have emerged online, including a spotlight on the truth about Tinder’s start, past poor behavior demonstrated by its leadership, and screenshots of the threatening text messages Mateen sent to Wolfe while at the office.
When love and business don’t mix
While primarily concerning the dissolution of a relationship between two people intertwined in a tech startup, the case puts the ethics of Tinder as a company into sharp focus. It places the company culture and decision making into question, as many believe that more people than just Mateen kept his behavior toward Wolfe under wraps. Tinder’s legal troubles continue; Forbes exclusively announced the demotion of CEO Sean Rad. While Rad’s new role in the company remains unclear moving forward, the app’s popularity continues to rise among millennials regardless of the negative press surrounding the product.
So, what’s next?
With Rad’s demotion and Wolfe’s lawsuit, a few questions remain. Does Tinder care about being one of the fastest growing apps in today’s tech landscape? How will the app that is changing the tired traditions of online dating, one smartphone at a time, continue?
While Tinder prides itself on being set apart from dating websites like E-Harmony, OkCupid and the like, perhaps it should learn a thing or two from those that have come before it. Transparency, especially as a new company, is key. The contradictory details of Tinder’s founding contribute to the public’s misperception of the app, especially as its legal troubles come to light.
Since Tinder, at its core, is superficial, the people behind its success have to work diligently to create a different perception of the company itself. This positive view will only stem from good, solid leadership. After Rad’s demotion, Tinder’s going to need to take its leadership in a new direction — a positive one. Without a clear direction, Tinder will only be breaking hearts, not connecting them.