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Dating appdates (June 2024): Bumble movie, Apple’s ‘infidelity-friendly’ update, Tinder goes running, and more

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Would you watch a movie about the rise of Bumble, called Swiped? Would you like to hide dating apps on your iPhone, so your partner doesn’t see them? Do you live in Tokyo, and if so, will you sign a pledge saying you’ll only use a government-approved dating app to try and find a marriage partner?

All these questions and more are raised, if not answered, in this month’s dating app news roundup.

Apple’s iOS18 update supposedly helps you cheat

Apple’s iOS 18 update has received a flurry of criticism ahead of its release, with some people saying that a function allowing you to hide apps on your iPhone’s home screen will make it easier for cheaters to hide dating apps from their partner.

The update will allow you to hide or lock selected apps on your iPhone home screen, with Apple suggesting that this could be useful for hiding apps that could be targeted by criminals, such as banking or retail apps. You’ll be able to access these apps using verification such as face recognition, touch ID or passcode.

“Users can now lock an app, and for additional privacy, they can hide an app, moving it to a locked, hidden apps folder. When an app is locked or hidden, content like messages or emails inside the app are hidden from search, notifications, and other places across the system,” Apple explained.

This function could, of course, be used to hide the likes of Bumble, Tinder, Grindr and Feeld from anyone who might have a peek at your iPhone. Commenters have claimed that it will make it easier for people to cheat on their partner, and generally keep secrets.

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One could argue that this stance is focusing too closely on a symptom of cheating rather than the actual underlying behavior, but hey.

Bumble: the movie

Will the story of Bumble make a good movie? Well, judging by the unanticipated quality of social media and tech-focused movies such as 2010’s The Social Network, and 2023’s BlackBerry, it very well might.

Swiped, a movie about Bumble and its founder Whitney Wolfe Herd starring Lily James, is expected to be released in 2025, with James recently revealing images seemingly from the project’s film sets on Instagram. In her post she quotes Wolfe Herd as saying: “Feminism is not about girl power. It’s about equal power.”

The movie is being made by 20th Century Studios and Ethea Entertainment and is expected to cover the rise of the app, launched in 2014 by Wolfe Herd. The makers have said that Swiped is “inspired” by Wolfe Herd rather than being based on her life. Rachel Lee Goldenberg is directing the movie.

Screenshot 2024 06 13 at 12.50.44

If the movie is a hit it could be a timely shot in the arm for Bumble’s cultural clout. The app, along with other ‘first-generation’ dating apps, has been struggling to attract young new users. It recently dropped its ‘women-first’ messaging policy.

Wolfe Herd was credited as becoming the youngest self-made female billionaire in 2021. She stepped down as CEO of Bumble in 2023, aged 34.

Lesbian dating app uses AI to exclude trans women

In a move that is sure to result in absolutely no social media pile-ons or accusations of erasure (/end sarcasm), a British woman is set to launch a lesbian dating app that excludes trans women through face-scanning verification.

L’App has been developed by Jenny Watson, a UK-based town planner, following her experiences getting kicked off other dating apps after clarifying that she didn’t want to date trans women.

To use the app you’ll have to scan your face to get ‘verified’ as a non-trans woman. The app will make this judgment using AI, based on factors such as bone structure, eye and eyebrow positioning, plus nose shape and size. Blinking motions and heat emissions will be detected, so users can’t use a still image to get through the verification process.

“There is [sic] no female-only dating apps at the moment,” Watson told the Mail on Sunday. “Lesbians need an app which they can use without being messaged by trans-identifying males.”

Unsurprisingly, Watson has already faced criticism online for the exclusionary app. This doesn’t seem to be knocking her off course, however. She’s now reportedly planning on opening “the UK’s first single-sex lesbian bar”.

Tokyo rolling out government-approved dating app

Authorities in Japan’s capital city really, really want citizens there to get paired up. The Tokyo metropolitan government is reportedly set to roll out its own dating app this summer, having trialed a web app version in early 2024.

According to The Asahi Shimbum, the app is being launched to promote marriage in Tokyo and help tackle the city’s “chronically low” birthrate. City authorities are reportedly spending 300 million yen ($1.9 million) in 2024 to promote marriage, with measures including the new app.

In 2022, around 90,000 babies were born in Tokyo: a 15 percent drop from the amount born ten years earlier.

Users of the app will have to sign a pledge promising that they are using the app to try and find a marriage partner rather than, say, find hook-ups. They will have to prove they are single by providing official documents such as family registers, and will have to list information including their height, education background and job.

A Tokyo city official said: “We hope that this app, with its association with the government, will provide a sense of security and encourage those who have been hesitant to use traditional apps to take the first step in their search for a partner.”

Tinder gets in on social run trend

Running clubs are so hot right now. Instagram users are posting images of their elegantly energetic run club meetings, and it’s been suggested that they are now the ‘in’ place to meet a potential partner.

Keen for a piece of this zeitgeist pie, Tinder has collaborated with running ‘coach’ app Runna to organize a series of singles running meet-ups in London this summer.

Screenshot 2024 06 13 at 14.14.10

The SoleMates Run Clubs, as they are officially known, will take place in June and July 2024. They will be promoted on Tinder to users in the region, who can then click through to book to attend them.

The idea is that the running place at the meet-ups should be slow, so attendees can flirt with each other while they jog and complement lycra outfits. There will be a social mingler event right after each of the running meet-ups.

We’re interested to see if this one has legs.

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