Co.Design

Will Tinder Become The Sexting App Snapchat Never Was?

A new update to dating app Tinder lets you share Snapchat-esque photographs that expire after 24 hours. Will the minefield of creepy messages now become a minefield of X-rated photos?

A new update to the world’s most popular dating app, Tinder, allows you to share ephemeral Snapchat-esque photos with anyone you’ve ever matched with. Called “Moments,” the images disappear into the ether after 24 hours. Surely, these “moments” will only be of the wholesome, clothed variety, right?

Here’s how it works: you take a photo in the Matches tab of the app, and this photo is broadcast to all of your matches. They can then swipe left to “nope” or right to “like” the photo, as they do with individual profiles. “People love using Tinder for the joy of swiping, so we wanted to use the same experience to help people get to know each other,” Rad says. You’re notified when your photo gets liked. The Moments expire after 24 hours on the receiver's phone, but they stay on the photo-taker's device. As in Snapchat, you can draw on photos with bright colors, and add filters.

The dick-pic averse can choose to opt out of seeing matches’ Moments. And if you’re being blasted with Moments that are particularly heinous, you can report or block a user.

Supposedly, the goal of the update is to help Tinder become a place where people can meet new friends, not just new romantic partners. "Just because you match, doesn't mean you need to date that person; you could match with a friend who you want to share a moment with," Tinder founder Sean Rad tells TechCrunch.

Sharing photographed slices of your life could be a better way to get to know a stranger digitally--it’s more intimate and human than just sharing a curated profile and typed messages. But in an app that’s already a notorious creep-minefield, such moments might veer more towards sleazy than friendly.

With 850 million swipes and 10 million matches per day--adding up to an estimated 2 billion matches total and counting--Tinder's model has proven to function like an addictive game for many singles. Combining the "joy of swiping" with the intrigue of disappearing photos sounds like a recipe for upping that game, whether it results in new couples or new friends.