One programmer looking to have a little fun on Tinder, so instead of using the swipe-right-and-connect dating app to meet a potential significant other, he decided to alter Tinder’s API to “create a catfish machine” that got a bunch of dudes to flirt with each other when they thought they were hitting on women.
Over the last few weeks, a California-based computer engineer — we’ll call him Patrick — has pitted heterosexual male against heterosexual male. Patrick’s program identifies two men who “like” one of his bait profiles (the first used prominent vlogger Boxxy’s image; the second used an acquaintance who had given Patrick consent) and matched them to each other. The suitors’ messages — some aggressive, others mundane, but all of them unabashedly flirtatious — are then relayed, back and forth, to one another through the dummy profile.
Patrick wanted to make a statement — he says that a lot of his female friends complain about the aggressive messages they get from guys on Tinder. Though the app isn’t anonymous (you need Facebook to authorise your existence as a human before you’re allowed to swipe), it doesn’t use last names.
Some may feel there’s a low risk associated with being crass to women online. Lots of tumblrs have been created calling Tinder guys out for their gross behaviour.
On the program Patrick created, The Verge says,
The program made matches within minutes of activation; Patrick estimates he was overseeing 40 conversations within the first 12 hours. He developed code to scramble phone numbers and stepped in when a real-world meeting was imminent, but he also feels ambiguous about the ethics of the prank: “They ignore all the signs, they ignore all the weird things,” he says of the users. “When someone is so quick to meet up without any detail or know anything about the person at all — maybe it’s deserved.”
The conversations were long and chock-full of headache-inducing material, but hilarious to those in the know. Both of these guys think they’re talking to a woman:
The guys in this conversation started to catch on — “I think the app is messed up.”
You can see all of the screenshots of conversations here (there are a lot.)