Joel Zhang, a second-year SFU software systems student, has coded a program to mass-like thousands of women on the widely used dating app Tinder.
When discussing how he came up with the idea to write the program, Zhang explained, “I was actually studying for finals, and I got bored, so I opened up the Tinder app. But once I started clicking ‘like,’ I thought, ‘There should be a faster way to do this.’”
In all, the program took him under half an hour to create. He coded the program on his computer and connected it to his phone so that it could analyze what data is sent and received from Tinder.
Information such as names, pictures, ages, and distances away are accompanied with a unique ID number in a list. By clicking ‘like,’ a signal goes through a URL and inputs the ID number to notify the Tinder servers that one person has liked another. Essentially, the program goes through the data in the list provided by Tinder, grabs the ID numbers, and sends these ‘like’ requests to the URL.
“To be honest, [the app was] not really about getting dates. I’m just the sort of person who likes to tinker around with things,” Zhang said when asked what he hoped to achieve by creating his program. “I was interested in seeing how Tinder works behind the scenes.”
Up to now, his program has liked over 4,000 people in a 23 km radius. His app first received notice when he posted a screenshot of it anonymously on SFU Confessions, but ultimately he thought it’d be a funny story to share.
Zhang is far from alone in his Tinder tendencies. An experiment conducted by The Mirror revealed that approximately one third of men will swipe right on almost anything. Journalists created a fake Tinder profile with a male name and a picture of the Cookie Monster from Sesame Street, and found that zero per cent of women clicked yes whereas 33 per cent of men clicked yes.
“Some guys feel like they can’t afford to not swipe right,” Zhang explained. This habit is likely related to the understanding that there tends to be more male users than female users on dating apps. Hence, men may feel like they have to play the numbers game to better their chances and get matches.
Overall, Zhang is rather skeptical of meaningful relationships being formed off of Tinder. He believes most people use Tinder for similar reasons: to either hook up or boost their ego from seeing how many matches they can get. He noted, “If you go out on dates from that, you’re not really connecting based on personality [. . .] You have to remember the reason why people are on there in the first place.”
Currently, Zhang doesn’t have any plans to create an app version of his program, as there are already a few apps that provide similar functions, but he’s always searching for new projects on which to work .