Tinder is commonly referred to as the “hookup app,” but at its core is a dating app that, like competitors, aims to offer a gateway to relationships, and even marriage, for a more tech-savvy generation.
It upends traditional dating culture, which typically requires you to go out and interact with strangers in physical spaces. Instead, it brings that diverse dating pool that you may — or may not — have had access to at a bar or club straight to you.
To use Tinder, you must create a profile, noting your current location, gender, age, distance, and gender preferences. Then you begin swiping. After you see someone’s photo and a small biography, you can either swipe left if you dislike them or right if you do like them. If another person swipes right, both of you are matched, and you can begin chatting with one another.
Tinder previously used a notorious Elo rating system to match users, essentially ranking people by a user-driven attractiveness algorithm. The more people who liked and swiped right on a person’s profile, the higher they were ranked. That profile would then be displayed alongside those with a similar rank.
As a result, it created dating bubbles, defeating a dating app’s purpose and advantages, which is to more quickly and efficiently find the perfect match beyond the simple physical attractiveness factor.
It has since abandoned this method, and in a 2021 blog post, the company revealed some of what goes into its matching system. “Our algorithm is designed to be open,” the company wrote. “Today, we don’t rely on Elo — though it is still important to consider both parties who Like profiles to form a match.”
According to Tinder, the app prioritizes users who are most active and matches you with others who are active at the same time. It doesn’t collect race or income data but considers those details you inputted when you signed up — how far someone is from you, their gender, and age.
With the help of newer features like Smart Photo, which identifies the photos that Tinder thinks work best for you, Tinder can spit out your next potential date.