There's always an inherent risk in flirting with, or flat-out harassing, someone you can't see in person. Hundreds of heterosexual men found that out the hard way when a Tinder hack led to them send flirty messages to each other rather than the idealized woman with whom they thought they were interacting.
A computer programmer told the Verge he was able to manipulate Tinder's application program interface by taking advantage of the Facebook login process. The hacker set up a bait profile that, instead of chatting back when contacted, simply relayed the messages from two men to each other. That way, instead of receiving flirty messages from a woman, the male sender would instead receive messages, often aggressively gross messages, sent by another man.
“Here's to praying I don't have daughters one day,” wrote one user. “Super scared. I'd be a crazy overprotective fater.”
“Huh?” another responded. “What do you mean being a father?”
The programmer told the Verge his idea to throw a monkey wrench into the mix was inspired by listening to his own female friends complain about how men treated them on the site.
“The original idea was to throw that back into the face of the people doing it to see how they would react,” he said, adding that the men in question didn't do much to protect themselves. “They ignore all the signs, they ignore all the weird things. When someone is so quick to meet up without any detail or know anything about the other person at all -- maybe it's deserved.”
Tinder has never been regarded as one of the most secure platforms. A 2013 flaw made it possible for a user's location to be identified within 100 feet of where they were standing. Then it was revealed last month that a marketing agency was posing as a young woman in order to advertise the debut of a new sci-fi movie.