Facebook’s data changes seem to be impacting Tinder
Justin Sullivan/Getty Images(MENLO PARK, Calif.) — Some online daters had a little more trouble swiping right than normal earlier this week.
On Wednesday, hours after Facebook announced plans to restrict some data access by third-party apps, some Tinder users noticed problems with the app.
Tinder did not specify the reason for the outage in a statement to ABC News, citing only a “technical issue” and saying that the company “found a resolution and quickly resumed service.”
But it appears Facebook new policies may be to blame. Scott Steinberg, a trends expert for consulting firm TechSavvy, told ABC News that the problem was likely connected to the tightening of restrictions previously announced by Facebook.
He likened the previous flow of data from Facebook to certain third-party apps to “a pipeline of information that’s been flowing.” When that pipeline gets shut, “then it can create technical hiccups for apps that rely on the data.”
“Platforms like Facebook are taking more steps to protect the sanctity of users’ personal data,” Steinberg said, adding that individual users are likely not going to be dramatically impacted by changes.
“What happens is, from the developer perspective, it’s harder for them to pull information than it was in the past,” Steinberg said.
Tinder, like many apps, allows users to sign up using their Facebook accounts. In turn, the user agrees to allow the third-party app — in this case, Tinder — to take information off their Facebook profile and add it to their Tinder profile.
As a result, the user’s interests, including brands they may have favorited or public figures they’ve professed to being a fan of, will show up as their “interests” on their Tinder profile — in theory, allowing potential love matches to connect over common bonds.
In contrast, other apps take less information. A representative for Bumble, a similar online dating app, told ABC News that the company only uses the publicly available information from Facebook users’ profiles, including their names, profile pictures, and whatever school or employer the Facebook user features.
The representative said that because Bumble only relies on the public-facing portions of a profile, the app was not affected by the new Facebook changes.
That isn’t to say that yet-unaffected apps won’t be making changes in the coming weeks and months. Both Bumble and Hinge, another dating app, told ABC News that they are developing log-in options that will allow people to sign on to their apps apart from their Facebook accounts. As of now, the only way that people can sign up for their apps is by verifying themselves through Facebook.
The Facebook changes will apply to any number of third-party apps, not just ones dedicated to finding love in the digital age. Venmo, the popular digital wallet app that helps people share and request funds from friends, did not have a comment for ABC News at this time.
Steinberg said logins separate from Facebook are not the only ways that apps will have to change to adapt to the social network’s changes.
“I think what you’re going to see is more and more apps trying to get creative with ways to access information … that once they might have had much freer access to,” he said, citing interests or friends that some apps were able to access through Facebook data previously.
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