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Facebook's New Data-Sharing Policies Are Crashing Tinder

Tinder says it has now fixed the problem described below: “A technical issue prevented some users from accessing our service earlier today. We found a resolution and quickly resumed service. We ask our users to ensure that they have updated the app and are running the most recent version,” a spokesperson said in a statement. The company declined to answer followup questions about exactly what aspect of Facebook’s new policies caused the glitch.

Today, Facebook made a series of changes to the kinds of data third-party apps can collect from the social network. The adjustments are designed to limit the information apps can gather from users following the Cambridge Analytica scandal, which Facebook now says may have affected up to 87 million users, up from the “approximately” 270,000 initially reported to have downloaded the app by the social media giant in March.

The new policies appear to be affecting the performance of the dating app Tinder. Users on Twitter, as well as several people in WIRED’s offices, have reported issues logging into the app, instead finding themselves in a never-ending loop between Facebook and Tinder: If you try to log into Tinder with your Facebook account, the app asks you to provide Facebook more permissions. But if you tap “ask me,” the only option available, the app requests again that you log into Facebook. This process continuously repeats. Downdetector, a site that monitors website and app outages, is also reporting an uptick in problems related to the dating app today.

What users experiencing the glitch are seeing when they try to access Tinder.

Tinder

Tinder doesn’t require social media profile integration to work—users can sign up with their phone number—but many people choose to sign up with their pre-existing Facebook accounts because it makes it easier to use Facebook photos in the app, and to find out if a potential match has mutual friends on Facebook.

As part of its new app integration policies, Facebook will now “need to approve all apps that request access to information such as check-ins, likes, photos, posts, videos, events and groups,” according to a blog post from Mike Schroepfer, the company’s chief technology officer. Facebook began approving these permissions individually in 2014, but it is now tightening the review process, requiring that apps sign agreements before gaining access to this data.

Schroepfer also wrote that apps will no longer be able to access certain information like religious or political views, relationship status and details, custom friends lists, education, and work history. The changes could have wide-reaching consequences for apps that often rely on this data, including Tinder. The dating app previously included work and education history on users’ dating profiles, though it’s not clear whether this feature is causing the glitch. “This was part of the changes that we announced today, and we are working with Tinder to address this issue,” a Facebook spokesperson said to WIRED in a statement. Tinder did not immediately respond to a request for comment, but a tweet from its official Twitter account acknowledged that “a technical issue is preventing users from logging into Tinder.”

The glitch does not appear to be affecting other dating apps that allow Facebook integration, like Hinge and Bumble, which both require a Facebook account to sign up. Users who must get access to Tinder can create a new account using their phone number, but they will loose all their current matches and conversations. Roderick Hsiao, a software engineer at Tinder, said on Twitter that users can also try the desktop site if they need to access Tinder immediately. He also said that the dating app is working on a fix.

Talking About Tinder

UPDATED: April 5, 2018, 9:56 AM EST: This story has been updated to reflect that Tinder fixed the issue.


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