Teens looking for love will have to settle for an increasingly small pool of dating apps.
Tinder announced Wednesday night that users under 18 are no longer welcome to use the popular app. Like rival app Skout, which still welcomes teens, Tinder has been running a separate platform for users 13–17 that only allows them to interact with others in the age range.
According to a statement released by Tinder spokesperson Rosette Pambakian, and quoted by TechCrunch, the company has been considering the new anti-teen policy since earlier this year.
On a platform that has facilitated over 11 billion connections, we have the responsibility of constantly assessing our different user experiences. Consistent with this responsibility, we have decided to discontinue service for under 18 users. We believe this is the best policy moving forward. This change will take effect next week.
Tinder didn’t clarify the exact reasoning behind the move. But concerns over teen safety may have finally pressured Tinder into shuttering its teen platform.
Cybersafety experts have long warned of risks related to Tinder’s geolocation feature that allows other users to know where you are. In 2012, teen safety on dating apps became a major concern after three adults were arrested for using Skout to meet and sexually assault minors. That app shut down its teen platform for a month in order to rework its safety and age-verification features, but has since relaunched.
The move to ban teens comes just days after company CEO Sean Rad announced that Tinder would finally expand its gender identity options to include transgender and gender nonconforming users. The gender policy, announced June 2, followed reports of transgender users getting kicked off the app.