Sensitive as ever to its portrayal by media, dating app Tinder has moved on from unflattering magazine articles to out of home advertising. This time Tinder is taking issue with a billboard paid for by the AIDS Healthcare Foundation in Los Angeles, claiming there is a link between Tinder and Grindr, its gay predecessor, and various genital unpleasantries.
The sign shows silhouettes of people about to kiss with the words “Tinder – Chlamydia” and “Grindr – Gonnorhea” in the middle of their profiles. AIDS Healthcare Foundation says the sign is intended to encourage people to practice safe sex and get regular screenings for STDs.
AHF public health division director Whitney Engeran-Cordova stated: “In many ways, location-based mobile dating apps are becoming a digital bathhouse for millennials wherein the next sexual encounter can literally just be a few feet away—as well as the next STD.”
Tinder is having none of it. In a cease-and-desist letter demanding that AHF remove the sign immediately, the dating app’s legal representatives assert, “These unprovoked and wholly unsubstantiated accusations are made to irreparably damage Tinder’s reputation in an attempt to encourage others to take an HIV test by your organization."
AHF says the assertions in the sign are supported, among other things, by a report from the Rhode Island Department of Health attributing an uptick in STDs to dating apps. Previously, another report from the Houston Department of Health and Human Services claimed social media was facilitating unprotected sex between men, which is the main cause of new syphilis cases in Harris County, with men outnumbering women by a margin of five to one.
Another study from the Philippines Department of Health found that social networks are contributing to the spread of HIV in that country.