I’m having very strong feelings about this article, which describes a new ad campaign by an organization in Ireland to bring awareness to sex trafficking. The organization is creating fake Tinder profiles designed to look like those of sex trafficking victims. Each profile starts with a photo of an attractive woman, but with each swipe the photos get progressively more alarming, showing the girls with bruises, cuts, and other signs of abuse. The final two photos feature disturbing facts about the realities of sex trafficking, as well as a call to action. I can’t tell from the article whether Tinder supports or knows about this campaign.
While I do appreciate an attempt to raise awareness of something as appalling as human trafficking, this seems like a gross misuse of the Tinder app. I think part of what’s bothering me is that campaigns like this reduce the legitimacy of the app. Okay, Tinder is not sacred, but there are already so many fake profiles on dating apps/sites that it gets frustrating. Will campaigns like this lead to other misleading, but legit-looking posts/profiles/etc on other types of services? I would support an obvious ad campaign that uses Tinder’s style to get the point across, but I think I have a problem with the bait and switch method.
Additionally, despite the organization’s claim that feedback from Tinder users has been “great,” I have a hard time believing this will be very effective. The main profile pictures of these girls are very attractive, and I imagine most guys will just swipe right without looking any further. I’m guessing the most the organization will get out of this is a lot of media coverage, which is still a win, I suppose.
I don’t know, there’s just something I don’t like about this, but then I feel bad for not liking it because it’s a very worthy cause. What are your thoughts?