LONDON – The dating app Tinder is failing to do enough to stop trans people from being unfairly banned from the site, users said on Wednesday after the company vowed to address the issue of trans profiles being taken down more than those of other people.
The dating app had a policy to automatically review participants whose profiles get a lot of complaints that has unfairly targeted trans people, trans users said.
Tinder Chief Executive Elie Seidman said the company was answering complaints from trans people, particularly trans women, about being banned, in a company blog post on Tuesday.
He said Tinder has made improvements replying to complaints and in training staff since introducing more than three dozen optional “More Genders” identities and a way to design a personalized gender in 2016.
“Since implementing these changes, we’ve been able to meaningfully increase the number of trans people who remain on Tinder despite unwarranted reports,” Seidman said.
Seidman said Tinder’s policy that does not allow users to filter out trans people as possible matches has had “some very disappointing, unforeseen consequences” because users instead would file complaints or unwarranted reports about them.
“Trans people continue to be reported at higher rates by cisgender members simply for being who they are,” he said.
Cisgender means a person whose gender identity matches what it says on their original birth certificate.
A number of trans people banned from Tinder said the changes by the app, which launched in 2012, did not go far enough.
Ande Karim, an American musician who identifies as a “demiguy” – someone who partially, but not wholly, identifies as a man – and uses they as a pronoun tried to access Tinder a week ago to find they had been banned.
“I was baffled,” Karim wrote in en email. “I hadn’t had any arguments, I haven’t sent explicit messages or photos and I hardly used the app.
“I definitely feel I was being targeted because I am trans.”
Sydney, a trans woman, said: “I was banned for weeks despite not breaking any rules.
“I was given no explanation by Tinder as to the nature of my ban.”
Tinder said more than 80 million matches have been made by members using the “More Genders” feature.
More than 30 billion matches have been made through the app in total, according to its website.
(Reporting by Rachel Savage, Editing by Ellen Wulfhorst; Thomson Reuters Foundation.)