TIME

Campaign Against Sex Trafficking Launches on Tinder

Swipe right for awareness

Correction appended: Nov. 8, 2014

Tinder users looking for a hook-up might be surprised to come across a number of profiles featuring women with cuts and bruises on their faces and bodies. And that newfound awareness is exactly the mission of Irish advertising agency EightyTwenty, which has partnered with the Immigrant Council of Ireland to launch a campaign against sex trafficking that leverages the no-cost distribution channel of the dating app.

The fake profiles, which use models so as not to exploit actual victims, begin with conventionally alluring photographs of the women. But as users swipe to see more, they see images of the abuse that victims of sex trafficking often endure. The series ends with a PSA that juxtaposes Tinder users’ options with the entrapment victims face: “Your options are left or right,” one version reads. “Sex trafficking victims have no options. You have the option to help end it now.”

The campaign’s website says the agency has received “a large number of comments from users who are shocked upon hearing about the realities of sex trafficking in a modern society.” They estimate that the illicit industry yields €200 million ($248 million) annually for foreign and domestic criminal gangs.

The campaign stands to receive criticism from activists who oppose sex trafficking but don’t support a wholesale ban on prostitution. Immediately after prompting the user to “help end it now,” the PSA links to the website for Turn Off the Red Light, a coalition that aims to end both sex trafficking and prostitution. It’s a conflation of one issue that people agree, more or less universally, is harmful, and another which is much more complicated. Melissa Gira Grant, a journalist and author of Playing the Whore, has spoken out about the way in which anti-prostitution groups oversimplify the problems sex workers face. As she wrote in the Guardian in 2011, “When politicians, social service providers and celebrity philanthropists insist that sex workers are selling ourselves, they engage in the same kind of dehumanisation that they claim johns do to us.”

There’s also the question as to whether Tinder is the right place for such a PSA. The men who most need to hear this message, some would argue, are men who pay for sex, not men who use Tinder to find sexual (and romantic) partners whose interactions involve no exchange of funds (although this argument assumes the two groups are mutually exclusive and ignores reports of escorts advertising their services on Tinder). Still, despite these critiques, the campaign stands to raise awareness about a major problem among a group of people who had previously been unaware, or at least unmotivated to act. And that, say advocates, is better than nothing.

Correction: The original version of this story incorrectly named Melissa Gira Grant as a sex worker activist and author. She is a journalist and author.

MONEY the photo bank

The Secret Data Hidden in Your Snapshots

Just by uploading pictures from your camera to the web, you might have left a trail of breadcrumbs for anyone to follow.

You’ll often see this maxim posted in national parks: “Take only pictures, leave only footprints.” But what if your photograph IS your footprint, and it can be tracked by anyone who might follow it?

German photographer Philipp Schmitt visualizes those digital footprints in his “Location-Based Light Painting Project.” In his small town near Stuttgart, he sets up a 35mm digital camera and, with long-exposure black-and-white images, “maps” each geotagged photo taken around the touristy Heilig-Kreuz-Münster city center.

How does he do it? Fluent not only in English and German but in numerous coding languages, Schmitt created an iPhone-based app that pinpoints his location using Global Positioning System (GPS) coordinates, then scours the web to cross-reference those bearings with any “geotagged” photographs taken there. (Such photos have GPS information embedded in the image file or were later attached to a map, like these examples from Google Panoramio and Flickr.) When his physical path intersects with the geolocations of those images, his smartphone emits a sound. The sound, in turn, triggers a strobe light attached to the phone. Schmitt stalks his predecessors around the scene, effectively “painting” the area with the tiny lights, while a camera on a tripod records his movements. In the end, he geotags the resulting photos—which are themselves aggregations of geotagged photos—so that, as he explains, “they add to the mass of noise they’re documenting.”

The first series of photographs Schmitt made during the project are nighttime cityscapes; a glowing orb marks each of the original photographers’ vantage points. The second series goes one step further, employing a long-exposure technique to show the “ghosts” of the photographers, using a second person as a stand-in. Contemporary large-format photographer Matthew Pillsbury also uses long-exposures to visualize the inhabitants of public and private spaces, while artist Corinne Vionnet similarly aggregates existing color photographs of tourist locations around the world found online and layers the shots (taken from slightly different perspectives and times of day) in the computer. Philipp Schmitt, however, is the first to use an app to fire lights which symbolize the footsteps of those who once visited a location.

Schmitt, a student in Interaction Design at Hochschule für Gestaltung Schwäbisch Gmünd in southern Germany, got the idea from watching out his home window as tourists photographed the town church fountain. He started wondering, “How many photos have been taken of that stupid fountain?” Schmitt explains:

The amount of existing photos is just extraordinary. According to Wikipedia, Google Panoramio alone archives more than 65,000,000 geotagged images. Popular landmarks are so thoroughly documented by photographers that PhotoSynth can create 3D models of these places just using pictures.

This is all well and good when you want your location to be known, when you are aware that—via the particular camera or smartphone you use—your GPS coordinates are being logged, mapped, and disseminated globally. What if you aren’t aware? Schmitt’s strobes also cast light on a darker issue: online privacy. How much information should you share and when, in an age when oversharing on social media can result in a lost job when recruiters search your profile prior to your interview, when sites like Facebook track the clicks of your digital footprint and share them with advertisers, when Tinder users are scouring your photos for personal details, and when geotagged images in a Craigslist post can reveal the layout and location of your home and all of your personal possessions. (MONEY details the repercussions of your personal data falling into the wrong hands as it relates to recent data breaches and what you should do about it here.) In the case of geotagged images, it is possible to strip this data from your image files by adjusting settings on your camera and phone and opting out of attaching it when you upload them publicly.

Right now, it’s just a photographer or two who may be peering in your apartment windows like Arne Svenson as he “tests the limits of privacy,” stealing your Facebook photos like Paulo Cirio and the team of Jonathan Pirnay and Jörn Röder, or following in your geotagged footsteps (almost in real time, if he so chooses) like Philipp Schmitt. Still, that’s just one small leap away from electronic billboards targeting you in public spaces based on personal or geotagged data. Schmitt has already open-sourced parts of the code “to encourage people to do their own location-based light paintings.” Feel free to download it here, then geotag your images and add to the noise. Just make sure if you leave a trail, it’s one you don’t mind others following.

This is part of The Photo Bank, a section of Money.com dedicated to conceptually-driven photography. From images that document the broader economy to ones that explore more personal concerns like paying for college, travel, retirement, advancing your career, or even buying groceries, The Photo Bank will showcase a spectrum of the best work being produced by emerging and established artists. Submissions are encouraged and should be sent to Sarina Finkelstein, Online Photo Editor for Money.com:sarina.finkelstein@timeinc.com.

More from The Photo Bank:
FREE MONEY! (If You _ _ _ _ It)
Looking at ‘Rich and Poor,’ 37 Years Later
When the DynaTAC Brick Phone Was Must-Have Technology

 

TIME relationships

Men Swipe Right on Tinder 3 Times as Much as Women

App Tinder
Tinder App Franziska Kraufmann—picture-alliance/dpa/AP

More "likes" than "nopes"

Men apparently see much more that they like on Tinder than women do.

On the popular dating app, which has users swipe right to indicate they “like” a potential match and swipe left to say “nope,” men are almost three times as likely to swipe right than women are, the New York Times reports. Men do it 46% of the time, while women do it just 14% of the time.

MORE: The new dating game

The Times, citing an unnamed source, reports that Tinder now has close to 50 million active users. Co-founder and CEO Sean Rad touted its more realistic appeal to physical attraction over the algorithms that other dating sites say yield compatible matches, algorithms viewed skeptically by social scientists.

“When was the last time you walked into a bar and someone said, ‘Excuse me, can you fill out this form and we’ll match you up with people here?’” Rad said. “That’s not how we think about meeting new people in real life.”

[NYT]

TIME celebrity

Here Are Bill Murray’s Thoughts on Tinder

He doesn't need it to get a date

Bill Murray dropped by Jimmy Kimmel Live on Tuesday to talk about his new movie St. Vincent — but ended up talking about Tinder instead.

Kimmel brought up the mobile dating app, kind of out of nowhere, asking Murray if he’d ever consider using it (or if he’d even heard of it.) Murray indeed knows about Tinder, but he has no interest in participation. “I feel like I’ve lived that life and I can live that life any moment,” he says with confidence. He then goes on to prove just how skilled he is at hitting on people without the help of an app, and things get a little weird.

TIME apps

Tinder Thinks You’ll Pay to Find a Match. Swipe Right?

Does this mean there will be less bathroom mirror selfies?

Money can’t buy love, but it might be able to buy you a better Tinder date.

The free, location-based mobile dating app, which allows users to swipe right in hopes of finding a match and left to pass, will begin offering “a few premium features” come November, CEO and co-founder Sean Rad recently said at the Forbes Under 30 Summit.

Rad didn’t provide many details, Forbes reported from the event in Philadelphia, but said the new features are ones that “users have been begging us for” and “will offer so much value we think users are willing to pay for them.”

Does this mean less bathroom mirror selfies? Probably not. But Rad hinted that the pay-for-play features might focus on opening up location restrictions, allowing people to make connections while they’re traveling to new places. He also said the “premium” options will cater to areas outside of romance, like “local recommendations when traveling, trying to make friends, doing business.”

“Revenue has always been on the road map,” he added.

But don’t worry, you can still swipe for free while procrastinating at work: “The core offering will always remain free,” Rad said. “At least that’s the plan.”

Watch the full interview below:

TIME Television

Cristin Milioti on How I Met Your Mother’s Ending: ‘There’s No Way to Please Everybody’

Cristin Milioti
Cristin Milioti Richard Shotwell—Invision/AP

The A to Z star talks Tinder, her worst date ever and the nipple episode of Mad Men

Proving that television really is becoming the go-to place for romantic comedies, NBC’s new sitcom A to Z tells the complete story of Andrew and Zelda, who date for eight months, three weeks, five days and one hour. Mad Men’s Ben Feldman plays Andrew, the eager romantic; Cristin Milioti, otherwise known as How I Met Your Mother‘s titular mom (or sexy-baby-voice girl from 30 Rock), plays Zelda, who’s more eager to put the brakes on their relationship’s whirlwind beginning.

TIME caught up with Milioti to talk about the show (premiering Oct. 2), online dating and why you should still make mixtapes for your crush.

TIME: How does the show keep viewers on their toes when we know that the main characters break up?

Cristin Milioti: Gosh, it’s interesting, because your guess is as good as mine. They won’t tell us how it ends. Which I actually really like, because that means we don’t know how to play anything other than what the episode is. We’re not playing toward an ending. Ben and I differ in what are opinions are. I think they’re going to break up, he thinks they’re going to get married.

I was going to guess that there would be some bait-and-switch or reset that allows the premise to keep going.

Right? I thought that too. They have to go through the friendship of it, and we start the alphabet all over again. I’m not sure, to be honest with you. I think what the show does beautifully, as I’ve been working on it, is examine what it’s like to let someone into your life when you’re falling in love, which is the most incredible feeling in the world. But also terrifying.

You mentioned the alphabet — are there 26 episodes for each letter?

I think it would be 22, but I think they would combine some of the letters. I only say this because I heard [creator] Ben Queen say this at the TCAs. “LMNO” is — God, I sound like a grandma — texting code for “laughing my nuts off.” Those are his words.

Well, you learn something new everyday!

I always thought it was LMAO, which is “laughing my ass off.” That’s the one that I know. And obviously good old standard LOL.

I’m partial to ROFL.

I’ve seen that one too!

It’s almost onomatopoeic — that’s what I imagine rolling on the floor laughing sounds like.

Rofl-rofl-rofl. Yeah!

So this is the second show you’ve been on where the ending is somewhat known and what happens in the middle is the real meat of the story.

It’s interesting because I never thought that, not even for a second. And then we were doing the TCAs and people started asking questions like that. “Do you think it’s a coincidence that you’re doing a show that’s so much like How I Met Your Mother?”

But, other than that aspect, I don’t really think of them as that similar?

Yeah, but we do deal with a similar theme of whether or not destiny exists.

Do you believe it does?

I gotta tell you, I do for the most part. And then sometimes … I’m still trying to figure that out. Every now and then I’m like, are we the ones that need to take action and then destiny doesn’t exist? Do you create your own destiny? But then, if you create your own destiny, destiny already exists! And you just didn’t even know.

So you differ from your character in that way.

Ben Feldman and I sort of are each other’s characters in real life. I’m Andrew, he’s Zelda. He’s far more pragmatic. I think I believe more in love at first sight than he does.

Andrew works at an online dating company. Have you ever tried that?

No, I’ve never tried it. I’m not on any social media. I know people who have met on Twitter and through Facebook. I had a friend, someone liked her photos on Instagram and they started direct messaging each other and went out on a date! That’s so foreign to me. Whatever floats your boat. If it works for you and that’s how you find love, that’s wonderful. On the other hand, there’s nothing like meeting a person and knowing there’s that sparkly chemistry. But I guess you know that when you go out on that date after your profiles get Tindered.

Have you played around on someone else’s Tinder?

Last summer a friend of a friend gave me his phone and said, “Want to flip through and do my Tinder?” I had this crazy power rush. I was like, “Oh my God, I’m deciding who you’re going to go on a date with!” But I also felt terrible clicking no.

Destiny’s in your hands.

Yes, exactly! My my, how the tables have turned.

What’s the worst date you’ve ever been on?

I went on a date with someone that I had not been seeing for very long — I’ve pulled a real Andrew here — but I was very sure: “I have feelings for this person and I’m going to tell them tonight.” We went out to dinner and had a couple glasses of wine, and I was finally like, “I just have to tell you, I really, really like you and have all these feelings and just needed to get that off my chest.” He just stared at me and was like “Oh, okay, I’m sorry, I don’t feel the same way.” We had just finished dinner!

And you just had to sit there until it was over?

Yes! It was a nightmare.

Okay, happier thoughts: what is your ideal date?

It would probably involve the beach and eating.

Very good choices.

Or like something wild that I’ve never done before like being driven to a lookout and being able to see the city. I feel like I could come up with a better one.

I don’t know. Eating at the beach is hard to top.

That’s all you need!

Going back to How I Met Your Mother for a second, were you surprised about the backlash regarding the ending?

Oh no, I wasn’t surprised. That show — which speaks to the quality of that show — always had such a passionate fanbase. I remember talking with one of our props guys about what the reaction was going to be, because some people all along had rooted for Ted and Robin, even when she was going to get married. There’s no way to please everybody. There’s no way to please 10 million people, unless you take them to the beach and give them food.

Do you watch Mad Men? Because Ben’s character went a little crazy this season.

We were just talking about this yesterday. I’ve never seen Mad Men. I want to do it leisurely and really soak it in, but I don’t have time to get to season five [when Feldman's character is introduced]. I just want him to send me his scenes, but he won’t do it.

Do you know what happens?

I do, because we did the upfronts the day after he cut his nipple off.

Oh my God.

We were in the press line together, and all the questions were like, “Cristin, how do you feel about dying?” “Ben, how do you feel about cutting your nipple off?” It was a really dark press line.

My first thought after watching that scene was thankfully A to Z isn’t on until October — we have some time before we have to think of him in a rom-com way.

Yeah, and he does it with aplomb. I really, really want to see Mad Men. I’ve YouTubed — he doesn’t even know this — I’ve YouTubed parts of his performance when he was first being brought in for the role of Andrew. I loved it. I loved what he was doing, and I want to see more of it, but he was like, “It’s important that you know what’s going on.” I basically asked him for his reel.

In addition to acting, you’re also musical: you’ve been nominated for a Tony and the Once soundtrack won a Grammy. Are you going to go for EGOT status?

Haha, geez, I don’t know — I’ll try, I guess? I’m in complete disbelief of what has happened to me. And the Grammy thing, it seems like I just went to a store and asked them to make me a Grammy. It’s so unbelievable to have that thing in my house. It just looks like when you’re little and you’re playing and you get an Oscar that says “Best mom.” That’s what it feels like. I still can’t believe that.

Speaking of music, will Andrew and Zelda swap mixtapes this season?

No, but they should!

Maybe as like a DVD extra you can include them.

Yeah. Do people still do that? People should do that.

I would, but I feel like people catch on too quickly now — they know what’s up when you give them a mix CD.

But hasn’t it gone retro yet now? Maybe not. I don’t think mixtapes will ever go out of style.

You need to speak out and make them cool again.

This is a public statement: I’m in favor of mixtapes.

A version of this story appears in the Oct. 6 issue of TIME, on stands this Friday.

TIME Tech

Tinder Settles Sexual-Harassment Suit With Co-Founder

The startup quickly settles out of court

Dating-app startup Tinder and its parent company, IAC, have quickly settled a sexual harassment lawsuit filed by one of their co-founders.

Whitney Wolfe alleged in a complaint filed June 30 that her fellow co-founders, Justin Mateen and CEO Sean Rad, subjected her to “horrendously sexist, racist and otherwise inappropriate comments, emails and text messages” before stripping her of her co-founder title for being a 24-year-old woman and then firing her. Mateen was suspended following the claims that he had called her a “whore” and “gold digger” in Rad’s presence. The complaint included many screen grabs of text-message conversations among the three co-founders.

Wolfe’s lawyers argued that the Tinder executives symbolized “the worst of the misogynist, alpha-male stereotype too often associated with technology startups.” The suit came at the end of a summer filled with charges of misogyny in Silicon Valley: Valleywag leaked emails from Snapchat CEO and co-founder from his days in a frat at Stanford filled with misogynist comments; Julie Ann Horvath left GitHub because of alleged sexual harassment; a sexist flier was found in Twitter’s headquarters; one of the RapGenius co-founders was ousted for making annotations on University of California, Santa Barbara, killer Elliot Rodger’s misogynist manifesto that included calling Rodger’s sister “smokin hot.”

The case has been resolved and Wolfe has dropped the case, one of her lawyers told BuzzFeed. The firm declined to comment on the sum of money involved in the settlement.

TIME animals

Why New Yorkers Are Getting Matched With Dogs on Tinder

Swipe right to adopt

Posing with a puppy to prove your humanity is a Tinder trope as old as, well, Tinder. But starting last week, New Yorkers found themselves swiping right with literal dogs. Like, the four legged kind, not the kind that sends you lots of suggestive eggplant emojis.

East Village no-kill shelter Social Tees Animal Rescue teamed up with The Barn at ad agency BBH to push pet adoption … via a dating app.

Since Tinder requires a Facebook account for entry into its vortex of swiping, Social Tees set up ten separate Facebook pages for various abandoned puppies looking for a home. Bios ranged from typical exhortations of “Single and ready to mingle!” to the less subtle: “Roses are grey, Violets are grey, and everything is grey because I’m a dog.”

The adoption initiative began July 31, and Social Tees told TIME that its staff had individually approved all potential matches. There were 2,500 matches as of Monday, and people are encouraged to foster a dog for two weeks or to adopt one permanently.

This isn’t the first time shelters have targeted lonely singles on dating sites. The ASPCA put targeted ads on OKCupid in February, right in time for Valentine’s Day, in a pro-bono promotion that resulted in 6 dog and 35 cat adoptions over the course of a weekend.

TIME celebrity

Watch Conan O’Brien and Dave Franco Test Out Tinder

The results are hilarious

Well, it looks like Conan O’Brien decided he was sick of hearing about Tinder and that it was time to try it out for himself. He enlisted certified young person Dave Franco to take the plunge with him. Watch as the pair bust out their smartphones and give the popular dating app a whirl. Naturally, the whole thing ends up being pretty hilarious. WATCH: 6 Minutes of Conan Wrecking Chicago in Video Game WATCH: Conan Plays The New Super Smash Brothers. Horribly.

TIME Companies

Former Tinder Exec Sues for Sexual Harassment

Co-founder Justin Mateen has been suspended pending an internal investigation

A former executive of the mobile dating app Tinder is suing the company for discrimination and sexual harassment, according to a case filed in the Los Angeles Superior Court on Monday.

Whitney Wolfe, former marketing vice president, alleges that co-founder Justin Mateen got rid of her co-founder title because having a “24-year-old girl” made Tinder “seem like a joke,” USA Today reports.

Wolfe also claims Mateen called her a “whore” in front of the company’s CEO, Sean Rad. When she tried to complain about the behavior she experienced, Wolfe said she was pushed out of the company. She also alleges that Rad ignored her complaints, Reuters reports.

“I had hoped this would be resolved confidentially, but after months of failed attempts, I have decided to pursue this suit,” Wolfe said in a statement.

A spokesman for IAC, one of two Tinder parent companies named defendants in the suits, provided that following statement to TIME:

“Immediately upon receipt of the allegations contained in Ms. Wolfe’s complaint, Mr. Mateen was suspended pending an ongoing internal investigation. Through that process, it has become clear that Mr. Mateen sent private messages to Ms. Wolfe containing inappropriate content. We unequivocally condemn these messages, but believe that Ms. Wolfe’s allegations with respect to Tinder and its management are unfounded.”

[USA Today]

Your browser, Internet Explorer 8 or below, is out of date. It has known security flaws and may not display all features of this and other websites.

Learn how to update your browser