Dozens of Tinder users were banned from the online dating app after mentioning Black Lives Matter in their profiles, according to Buzzfeed News. Some had added Black Lives Matter hashtags to their profiles, while others encouraged matches to sign petitions or donate to causes. According to BBC, Tinder’s guidelines state that accounts can’t be used for “promotional purposes,” so the company may have been enforcing this rule when banning the accounts.
However, it has reversed course, telling Buzzfeed News that it will act upon those terms “in line with our values.” A spokesperson said that Tinder has “voiced our support for the Black Lives Matter movement and want our platform to be a place where our members can do the same.” The company will no longer ban accounts promoting Black Lives Matter, and those who were banned can email its support team to have their accounts reinstated.
Tinder says that it has donated an undisclosed amount to civil rights causes. Hopefully the affected users can quickly rejoin the service. This debacle does show, though, that dating apps could be considered a form of social media, and that service providers may have to keep that in mind. It also illustrates that “promotional purposes” is a vague phrase — companies may want to differentiate between commercial promotion and social promotion in the future.
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