[Press Release] Difussion #69 “Tinder Blunder: A Dilemma in Online Dating Apps”

March 4, 2022 10:02 am || By

Digitization brings various kinds and conveniences to the community. Like living in one world at a time, nowadays, one can easily do something that might require more effort in the real world via virtual screens. This convenience also includes activities to establish a love relationship. In Difussion #69, CfDS tries to find out more about the phenomenon of online dating apps, which is familiar to the public. Moderated by Aldo Rafi (Community Outreach Assistant CfDS), this discussion presented two resource persons for CfDS researchers, namely Firya Q. Abisono and Amelinda Pandu, to explain interesting things about the dilemma of daring dating applications. Smart People can watch the whole discussion on Youtube CfDS. 

Algorithm Dominance in Online Dating Apps

Starting her presentation, Firya explained that online dating applications have appeared in many variants with different goals, target users, and features. The increase in application users was driven by the Covid-19 pandemic, which limited the space for meeting people in the real world. For example, the Tinder application, a popular application, has now reached 9.6 million users worldwide.

In Indonesia itself, online dating applications have developed and have received attention in recent years. Applications such as Tinder, Tantan, OkCupid, TaarufID, and Setipe are widely used. As a country with the highest number of internet users, Indonesians also take advantage of online dating applications to fulfill their goals or needs for social intercourse, including romance.

Online dating apps can be interpreted as computer activities made intentionally to meet new people with the mediation of internet sites designed explicitly to find a partner. The unique characteristic offered by this application is the presence of individual user profile features. The user can fill this profile with various personal information to create or form a self-image, like what they want to see in the application.

Firya said that problems could arise as this application is used. That is about online dating application algorithms that process data from various sources, including social media and information provided directly by users. The algorithm adapts our preferences to suit the profile in the application.

“This application seems to encourage or provide control over the preferences of the partner we want. However, unfortunately, this leaves us trapped in the filter bubble. When we are used to looking for one specific thing regularly, the engine pushes it to keep appearing on our screens,” he said.

Filter Bubble makes someone attracted to people who are compatible either ideologically, demographically, or socio-economically, according to their preferences. Unknowingly this creates userboxes that are directed or created by the application. Other problems related to commodified data may also arise. We tend to get stuck in applications and ads that also appear according to our preferences and interests due to algorithms that adjust even across social media.

“Do not invest yourself in relationships. Play with the thought of nothing to lose, but still do not lose your data completely. Be careful with acting, take care of yourself, your data, and your privacy,” said Firya

Tinder as a Space for Self Existence

On the other hand, Amelinda conveyed the results of her research regarding the experience of young people in playing online dating apps, which was carried out before the pandemic. As Indonesia still upholds the value of communality and believes in relationships to build a household through marriage bonds as one of the social demands, selecting a mate is often a problem that someone must go through.

So far, someone tends to choose someone who is known or in their social environment. Digitalization has disrupted many aspects of dating culture in Indonesia. Exciting things were found from the results of interviews with research sources. It was found that the relationship established on Tinder had shortcomings and differences from the relationship that was established without Tinder. Tinder users are more open and receptive to people with diverse identities.

Tinder also removes the pressure commonly accepted as the party who has to initiate the approach because, on Tinder, both men and women have the same opportunities. According to some, Tinder can be a place to find a match for desperate people who want simple. Although currently, there is still a negative stigma against Tinder users in society, which is considered unfavorable or unacceptable in the real world social environment.

Amel said that daring dating apps could provide space for young people who do not fit into the status quo because these boundaries can be blurred in apps. Trying an online dating app is a legal and triable thing to do, but still, keep our data safe.

“Love is temporary, but Google/Tinder is eternal. Unfortunately, we currently live in a world where the victim is wrong and always feels the sap. Always on guard because the internet is forever. Once the data is spread, it will be there forever,” said Amel at the end of the event.

Writer: Ni Kadek Ayu Pratiwi
Editor: Firya Q. Abisono