steven ward tinder-movie

No wonder people keep giving Tinder poor ratings in the app store. At this year’s SXSW festival which wrapped up this weekend, users were encountering a major disappointment. An article in Adweek outlining what happened begins – “Well, this is sneaky – and for some a little heartbreaking.” I’d like to point out that “sneaky” and “heartbreaking” are probably the two top characteristics you don’t want associated with a potential date, or with dating in general, online or otherwise.

The article goes on to explain exactly what happened. “Tinder users at the SXSW festival on Saturday were encountering an attractive 25-year-old woman named Ava on the dating app.” Ava (pictured above) then pointed people to her Instagram, where “it became clear something was amiss. There was one photo and one video, both promoting Ex Machina,” a sci-fi film that premiered at the conference. The woman in the photo was actually an actress from the movie.

steven ward ex machina

While this may have been a somewhat clever advertising prank, it speaks to a larger issue with Tinder and many other online dating platforms. You simply can’t be sure who you’re talking to. It is very possible that people you are in contact with are misrepresenting themselves, if they are even real people to begin with. Someone can laugh at this article because people were just being mislead for a marketing ploy, but it shows that someone with more nefarious intentions may have the means to mislead vulnerable men and women into something much worse.

Correcting this problem is the main purpose of Love Lab. With features including verification of age, likeness to profile picture, and even criminal background, people at next year’s SXSW can make sure Ava is Ava, and not the face of some scheme cooked up by the marketing department of a movie studio.