Schoolies partnership faces swipe left

SCHOOLIES organisers are reviewing an "appallingly inappropriate'' sponsorship from the Tinder adult dating app after a blast from Queensland's Family and Child Commission yesterday.

Commission boss Cheryl Vardon hit out at Tinder's controversial commercial deal as a no-no, warning that the dating app could expose teenagers to predators at end-of-school celebrations on the Gold Coast.

She said Tinder did not screen users for domestic violence or criminal records.

"I think it's totally inappropriate for an online dating site to be linked to schoolies,'' Ms Vardon told The Courier-Mail yesterday.

"Schoolies is a time for letting off steam and having some fun.

"We know there are predators among the crowds of school groups so please don't add to that by linking young people to dating websites which don't disclose people's background information or verify their age.

"It's targeting an event with predominantly under 18s and that's a no-no.''

Ms Vardon said she was appalled that Tinder would sponsor a schoolies event.

"I think it's extraordinarily dangerous,'' she said.

"Young people are very vulnerable and have absolutely no idea about who they're hooking up with.

"Tinder doesn't have a box (to tick on user profiles) for DV history and past criminal behaviour.''

 

Mother Libby Marshall blew the whistle on the Tinder arrangement.
Mother Libby Marshall blew the whistle on the Tinder arrangement.

 

Schoolies.com chief executive Matt Lloyd said yesterday he was reviewing Tinder's sponsorship after a public backlash.

"There has been a lot of backlash and we're certainly considering our position,'' he told The Courier-Mail.

Mr Lloyd refused to say how much Tinder had paid for its partnership.

He said Tinder's website stipulated that users must be over 18, but when asked how it controlled who used the dating app, he said: "That I'm not 100 per cent sure of."

Mr Lloyd said his company's top priority was the safety of school leavers.

He said Schoolies would also offer a partnership with SearchParty, "providing a simple way for schoolies to stay connected with friends through interactive maps, group chat and being able to view friends' locations in real time''.

Schoolies.com has emailed students that "Tinder is coming to Schoolies in 2019" and to "download the app to unlock amazing Schoolies experiences''.

Tinder was contacted for comment yesterday but did not respond.

"We do not want minors on Tinder. Period,'' its safety policy states.

"Tinder is for users 18+, and we work hard to vigilantly maintain an adults only community.''

The Courier-Mail exposed the commercial hook-up with Tinder after Brisbane mother Libby Marshall complained that it "plants the seed that spontaneous, casual sex with anyone is OK''.

Gold Coast playboy Gable Tostee was acquitted of murder and manslaughter charges over the death of Tinder date Warriena Wright, who plunged to her death from a Surfers Paradise high-rise during their date in 2014.



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