Should a business unduly influence an individual’s choices without their awareness? Should a business be able to discriminate based on age?
Online dating service, Tinder, is under fire after allegedly unknowingly orchestrating the app’s algorithm so that users are persuaded into buying premium features and possibly charging individuals different prices for premium features based on age. Tinder is a free-to-use app, however, users can purchase certain features to improve their chances of getting “matches”. Slater Vecchio LLP has filed a class-action lawsuit on behalf of all individuals in Canada who purchased these premium features.
The lawsuit claims that the app engages in certain manipulative actions such as:
- Hiding matches from non-paying users;
- Hiding a non-paying user from prospective matches;
- Providing non-paying users match notification without showing the matches;
- Reducing the amount of matches a non-paying user gets if they “swipe right” too often;
- And many others.
These tactics are allegedly employed to manipulate a user into purchasing Tinder’s premium features, as not purchasing the premium features leads to a less than satisfactory experience on the app.
In addition to these claims, Tinder may discriminate against individuals based on age. In this action, the filed Notice of Civil Claim contends that if a user is under the age of 30, Tinder Gold is available to them for $19.99 per month. However, if the user is 30 or older, Tinder Gold is available to them for $39.99 per month. The lawsuit alleges that this age discrimination is a violation of the British Columbia Consumer Protection Act.
Is this difference in pricing a smart business model or taking advantage of individuals that may be more desperate? The national class-action lawsuit seeks to represent all Canadians against the potential algorithmic manipulation.