Tinder is for finding love — or at least a temporary connection — but the app’s backers aren’t interested in helping people expand their connections beyond the narrow confines of its own jurisdiction. The company says that it has identified an issue with users turning their profiles into spaces for “making money,” and will scrub social handles from public profiles, as well as tweaking its community guidelines to prohibit the sharing of usernames or references to other outbound links. In a statement rich in euphemism, the platform reminds users not to “advertise, promote social handles or links to gain followers, sell things, fundraise or campaign," which we suspect includes users who add their Linktree username to guide people toward online stores or content marketplaces.
The policy change comes as part of a series of updated community guidelines that Tinder claims will “reinforce authenticity, respect and inclusivity.” Besides the social handle removal, most of the policies are requests to users, such as telling people to respect boundaries and not to share private chats in a public setting. The dating app points to its younger membership (most users are 18 to 25) as motivation for making these appeals. “To guide these younger daters as they start their dating journey, Tinder is using this policy refresh to remind and educate members about healthy dating habits — both online and in real life,” Ehren Schlue, SVP of Member Strategy at Tinder, said in a statement.
It’s unclear how exactly Tinder plans to scrub social handles from bios or prevent people from sharing them in chats instead. The company encourages users to report anyone violating the rule, but a quick bio share over messages might not motivate anyone to do so. Removing social handles also interferes with people who share them to circumvent swipe limits or remove the need to match. Plus, there's the issue of determining if a person is who they say they are. Alongside the social handles announcement, Tinder reminds people to be honest and not create fake personas. But, without any access to a person’s social media, it might be harder to know for sure.