Ah, Tinder. Every single person’s favorite/least favorite game, and every couple’s secret nightmare. The infamous dating app that allows you to quickly sift through potential matches in your area by simply swiping left or right was only launched four years ago, and already it’s completely changed how the dating world operates. And not in a good way.
Since the app does feel more like a game than a dating site, finding the “hottest matches” becomes a competition among friends rather than a way to find a connection with another person. Its design reduces people to pictures and personalities to résumé points, which allows users to feel no shame in addictively surfing through it like you would go through someone’s photo album. As such, it also encourages commitment-phobia and cheating.
According to one global survey, 12 percent of Tinder users admit to being in a relationship, and a whopping 30 percent admit to being married. Think about it — if you’re in a relationship, and all your single friends are going crazy over the app, you might just end up trying it out for curiosity’s sake. From there, it’s a slippery slope down the cheating spiral.
If these stats are making you want to sign up for Tinder right this minute just to make sure your sig-o’s not on it, don’t go down that path just yet. There’s an easier way to sniff out Tinder infidelity, and it’ll only cost you $4.99.
It’s a new site called Swipebuster, and all it asks for is four pieces of information to search through Tinder’s data for your supposedly faithful partner. Well that and five bucks. While it sounds devious, the way the site operates is totally legal. See, all of the data from Tinder’s application programming interface (API) is public, just like so much of our personal information on the Internet. Swipebuster simply sifts through that information using the four information pieces every Tinder user must give — their first name, their sex, their age and their current location.
While the creator, who chooses to remain anonymous at this point, is certainly eager to turn a profit with his new site, his, shall we say, more humanitarian mission is to show how accessible our information is online. According to the Bureau of Justice, seven percent, or 17.6 million Americans were victims of identity theft in 2014 alone. Many of those incidents occurred because of the available information in public APIs like Tinder’s.
The creator hopes Swipebuster ultimately forces Tinder, and other similar websites to privatize their APIs, thereby making users’ information more difficult to tap. But until that time, if you have an unshakable fear your partner might be using Tinder on the sly, it’s a pretty quick and easy way to find out.
In the name of science (and my impending nuptials), I shelled out the $4.99 to test the service myself. You get three searches for that price, so I used them for my fiancé and two of my married friend’s spouses. Thankfully, none of them turned up in my search. However, I do have to say the system is by no means a full-proof way to spot a Tinder cheater. Even if they’re not using an alias, it’s difficult to guess where they might have last logged into the app. For example, I assumed my fiancé wouldn’t be using the app in our apartment for obvious reasons, so I’d check around his office. But then I thought, why would he use it there? Work hours would not be the time he’d choose to look for a hookup. So you can see how tricky that location statistic could make your search.
Despite the “humanitarian mission” behind Swipebuster, the website really is promoting useless and potentially dangerous behavior. I could see how someone might become addicted to rooting out cheaters in their personal circle, but unlike Tinder, this addiction costs money. So with that in mind, if you’re really that worried about your partner cheating, you’re probably better off signing up for Tinder (which is free) and keeping tabs on them in that less direct way.