White House pairs with dating apps to boost vaccinations in young Americans

Safety experts say beware.
Updated: Jun. 16, 2021 at 8:18 AM CDT
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WASHINGTON (Gray DC) - Do you want to increase your likeliness in finding love online?

“We want to make it as easy as possible and a little bit fun,” said Ben Wakana of the White House COVID-19 Response Team.

The White House says a key could be your vaccination status.

“Millions of young people were eligible later and are still yet to be vaccinate,” said Wakana.

In an effort to get young Americans to “swipe right,” the White House is pairing with nine dating apps: Tinder, Hinge, BLK, Ok Cupid, Bumble, Badoo, Plenty of Fish, Match and Chispa.

According to the Centers for Disease Control, 41% of 25 to 39-year-olds are already vaccinated.

The White House says these dating app features will increase that number.

“You’ll get boosts, you’ll get super-likes, you have 14% more likelihood of getting a match if you’re vaccinated,” said Wakana.

After downloading the app, you can add your vaccination status to your profile. Potential matches will be filtered with other members who are vaccinated.

And, while that sounds simple enough, security experts say beware.

“There is a crisis in this country around the commercialization and misuse of personal data,” said John Davisson of the Electronic Privacy Information Center.

Experts like John Davisson with the Electronic Privacy Information Center said in addition to sharing with potential dates you’re also sharing your information with the app and whoever they share their data with.

“It can be used for advertising purposes, it can be used for targeting content, it can be resold to data brokers who collect personal data,” said Davisson.

He said it’s fine for users to volunteer their status if they want, but Davisson said he is concerned that unvaccinated users could feel pressured to disclose more health information than is needed.

“That might be information that is relevant to the formation of an intimate relationship, but not necessarily something that a dating app or the federal government should be encouraging individuals to disclose,” said Davisson.

Users on all nine apps can currently access the feature if they decide they want their matches to know they’re protected from COVID-19.

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