Tinder has shut down the accounts of at least two users who used their accounts on the dating app to campaign on behalf of Democratic presidential candidate Bernie Sanders. Two women, one from Iowa and another from New Jersey, had their accounts locked after being flagged by a number of other Tinder users for spamming.
Robyn Gedrich, a 23-year-old New Jersey woman, told Reuters on Friday she has been unable to log in to Tinder since Thursday after spending two weeks sending approximately 60 messages to other Tinder users asking them to support Sanders. Haley Lent, a married 22-year-old photographer from Iowa, experienced the same difficulty after speaking with 50 to 100 people on the app and at one point changing her location so she could interact with New Hampshire Tinder users. Both users appeared to have violated the app's terms of service, which prohibits transmission of unsolicited mass mailing, but it's clear they're not the only ones who have co-opted the popular dating app to back a candidate.
“There's people who even pay the full membership frees in order to reach others across the country,” Nelson Evans, a Tinder user and Bernie Sanders fan from California told BBC News. “I think it's effective because, prior to the Iowa caucus, the media has completely shut Bernie out of the news cycle. For every 81 minutes of election coverage he'd get 10 seconds and Bernie supporters know that. But people who get their election news from the mainstream media, they have no idea what Bernie is all about.”
Recent figures tracked by the BBC show #FeelTheBern, a hashtag incorporating one of the Sanders campaign's most popular catch phrases, was used more than 33,000 times over 24 hours. That's substantially more than the 19,000 times Tinder users used the hashtag #ImWithHer, a phrase most associated with Democratic rival Hillary Clinton.
Sanders, after losing the Iowa caucus to Clinton, is the overwhelming favorite to win the New Hampshire primary when polls close Tuesday.