Tinder Is Furious Over Billboards Encouraging Users To Get STD Checks
Tinder is demanding the removal of new billboards that draw a connection between their dating app and getting tested for sexually transmitted diseases.
The blue and purple billboards in question feature the words "Tinder, Chlamydia, Grindr, Gonorrhea" on the silhouettes of heads, followed by "FreeSTDCheck.org." Put up by the AIDS Healthcare Foundation, the billboards first appeared in various locations around L.A. last week—including just blocks from Tinder's headquarters on Beverly Blvd. in West Hollywood, reports CBS LA. AHF—an L.A.-based non-profit, which provides prevention services, testing, and healthcare for HIV patients—contends that the billboards are intended to encourage regular STD screening, especially among users of dating apps like Tinder and Grindr. Tinder, on the other hand, is not a fan of the billboards and have sent a cease and desist order to AHF, demanding that the billboards be removed.
"These unprovoked and wholly unsubstantiated accusations are made to irreparably damage Tinder's reputation in an attempt to encourage others to take an HIV test by your organization," Tinder attorney Jonathan Reichman said in a letter to AHF, according to the L.A. Times.
AHF, however, is standing its ground and says they won't remove the billboards. (You've probably seen their other billboards around town, including the fiery syphilis one.)
"In many ways, location-based mobile dating apps are becoming a digital bathhouse for millennials wherein the next sexual encounter can literally just be a few feet away—as well as the next STD," explained Whitney Engeran-Cordova, AHF's public health division director, said in a statement about the billboards. "While these sexual encounters are often intentionally brief or even anonymous, sexually transmitted diseases can have lasting effects on an individual's personal health and can certainly create epidemics in communities at large."
In their response, AHF also cited several recent studies that link the use of dating apps and an increase in STDs and high risk behaviors. The foundation also referenced a recent Vanity Fair article that explores the rise in casual hookups with the use of apps like Tinder. Tinder was apparently not a big fan of that article either, and responded to it with a tirade on Twitter.
Grindr—a location-based dating app for gay men, which is also on the billboards—has dropped AHF's paid ads for free STD testing on their site. But otherwise, they don't seem to be as upset as Tinder is about the billboard.
"As one of the world's largest gay platforms, we take this issue very seriously," Grindr said in a statement to the Times. "At the end of the day, we are all on the same side in this issue, and strive to work with our partners and advocacy groups to achieve similar goals. A more connected and informed gay community is a better thing for us all."
What will happen next in the standoff between AHF and Tinder remains to be seen.