Govt jumps in bed with dating apps to push Covid jabs

tinder 2The UK Government has joined forces with leading online dating sites, including Tinder, Match, Hinge, Bumble and Plenty of Fish, to encourage those looking for romance or even no strings sex to get Covid-19 vaccinations through a new campaign.

The dating brands are adding new features to their apps and websites to support the Government’s “every vaccination gives us hope” campaign, encouraging younger people to get their vaccine in the second phase of the rollout and join the millions of people who have already received their jabs.

The move is likely to raise a few eyebrows among data protection experts as many sites stand accused of breaching users’ data rights.

According to a study carried out by the Norwegian Consumer Council (NCC) into ten apps, including Tinder and OKCupid, they were found to transmit data to “unexpected third parties”, with users not being clearly informed about where their information was being sent, and how it was being used. The ten apps were transmitting user data to at least 135 third parties involved in advertising and behavioural profiling.

Meanwhile, Match Group is being sued by the US authorities for allegedly using fake ads to persuade hundreds of thousands of users to subscribe to the service.

Nevertheless, the new features will allow users to show their support for the vaccine on their dating profiles and give in-app bonuses to those who say they are vaccinated.

Features will include vaccination badges and stickers to display on dating profiles, free “Super Likes”, and other boost-type features.

Users will also start seeing ads and banners for the “every vaccination gives us hope” campaign.

Although providing vaccination status on these apps is optional, data has shown that people are more likely to date someone who has received a Covid-19 jab.

A recent YouGov poll conducted in May also shows a third (31%) of adults would prefer to date someone who was vaccinated and a further 28% would not date someone unless they had received the jab.

Vaccines Minister Nadhim Zahawi said: “This is another incredible asset to our vaccination programme – the biggest and most successful in our history.

“The vaccine is our way out of this pandemic and we have made incredible progress so far with over three quarters of adults receiving at least one dose.

“I encourage everyone who is eligible to roll up their sleeves and get the jab – it could save your life and protect your loved ones.”

For example, on Tinder, members will be able to add a variety of stickers to their profile including “I’m Vaccinated” or “Vaccines Save Lives,” with the site giving those who support the campaign a free “Super Like” to help them stand out among potential matches.

Tinder will also launch a “Vaccine Center” with a suite of resources to educate and connect members with their nearest vaccination site.

Plenty of Fish members will be able to add an “I Got My Shot” badge to their profiles. Those who participate will receive 20 Live! credits to use on the Plenty of Fish Live streaming feature.

Meanwhile on Bumble, the women-first dating app, users will be able to add a ‘vaccinated’ badge to their profiles. For those who apply the badge, Bumble will offer complimentary credits for premium features such as Spotlights and Superswipes.

People on Bumble will also be able to share Covid-19 preferences, letting them easily communicate how they are comfortable dating: outdoors or indoors, how they feel about crowded spaces, and their expectations about masks and social-distancing. Bumble will also leverage their social media channels to amplify the need to get vaccinated.

Celebrity dating expert and coach James Preece said: “There’s no doubt that dating has been different and somewhat difficult for many individuals over the last 13 months.

“Having the vaccine is one of the most important things people can do to keep themselves and others safe.

“The fact that the leading dating apps have come together to support members being vaccinated will go a long way to people feeling confident meeting in person and dating again.”

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