It’s really not the kind of publicity mobile dating apps like Tinder and Grindr are looking for.
A new billboard in Los Angeles – located just a few blocks from Tinder’s Beverly Boulevard headquarters – is drawing a connection to the use of “hookup” apps and the rise of sexually transmitted diseases.
The billboards, paid for by the AIDS Healthcare Foundation, argue that users of many popular dating apps are more susceptible to STDs like chlamydia and gonorrhea, and accuse the apps of promoting unsafe sex.
“I saw it and I was like yep, that’s what it is now,” said one woman who claimed to have used Tinder in the past, according to CBS Los Angeles.
“Tinder’s great for meeting people that just want to have sex,” another former user told CBS.
The foundation said it is trying to raise awareness about the dangers associated with casual sex, and put the billboards up as a warning against apps that have made anonymous hookups “as easy as ordering a pizza.”
“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,” Whitney Engeran-Cordova, the foundation’s public health division director, said in a statement.
Of course, the creators of the apps are less than pleased, and have already sent a cease and desist letter, according to the foundation.
“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 the foundation, according to the LA Times.
Despite Tinder’s staunch objection, the foundation says it has no plans on tearing down the billboard anytime soon.
The foundation indicated in a press release that it essentially wants to pressure apps like Tinder to display warnings about the dangers of casual sex, in much the same way alcoholic beverages include warnings about drinking and driving.
Maybe “hookup responsibly” should be included somewhere on the app?
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