Tinder, Hinge, and other dating apps facing lawsuit over addictive features

Tinder logo displayed on a phone screen and a heart shape displayed on a screen in the background. (Photo by Jakub Porzycki/NurPhoto via Getty Images)

Tinder, Hinge and other dating apps are designed with addictive features that encourage compulsive use, according to a class-action lawsuit filed last week. 

The lawsuit was filed against parent company Match Group, which operates several dating apps in the U.S. and other countries. 

The lawsuit filed in federal court in the Northern District of California on Valentine’s Day, Feb. 14, says Match intentionally designs its dating platforms with game-like features that lock users into a perpetual pay-to-play loop that prioritizes profit over the promise to help users find relationships. 

Dating apps make money when users pay for a subscription. Almost all dating apps offer different subscription tiers, which unlock features that promise more engagement and better matching potential. 

The lawsuit claims the design of the dating apps turns users into "addicts" who purchase ever-more-expensive subscriptions.

A Pew Research study from 2023 found that some 35% of adults who have used a dating site or app have paid to use one. 

Last year, Tinder rolled out an "exclusive" Tinder Select membership that costs $499 a month. The League reportedly has a subscription level that is in the thousands. 

RELATED: Tinder rolls out 'exclusive' $499 monthly membership called Tinder Select

"Match’s business model depends on generating returns through the monopolization of users’ attention, and Match has guaranteed its market success by fomenting dating app addiction that drives expensive subscriptions and perpetual use," the lawsuit says. 

The lawsuit was filed by six dating app users.

Representatives for Dallas-based Match did not immediately respond to a message seeking comment.

Match Group dating apps

Match Group dating apps in the U.S. include: 

  • Tinder
  • Hinge
  • Match
  • OkCupid
  • Plenty of Fish
  • Azar
  • Chispa
  • BLK
  • The League

This story was reported from Detroit. The Associated Press contributed.