"The most I can do is work on my year abroad project and get used to meeting people in real life"Hannah Castle for Varsity

I got banned from Tinder on Tuesday. Instant disclaimer: I did nothing to get banned from Tinder. Picture the scene; after several months in Russia, I finally arrived in a provincial French seaside town and decided that now was the perfect time to reboot my account and scope out my chances of an early-summer fling, or at least some friends. A few photos, brief bio, and a fair amount of consternation about the gender options later, I was ready to go. My intrigue, however, was swiftly cut short as my account was put up for review. I checked back half an hour or so later, only to be told that I had been banned. For good. In other words, I was forever more unable to access Tinder.

During the ensuing email exchange with several minions at their headquarters, I was sent the Community Guidelines and Terms of Use four times. I was replied to by a stream of employees, though the content was always of a kind: no, there’s no appeals process; it’s a decision we take very seriously; and no, we can’t explain why you’re banned at this time. The emails constantly reiterated that they took violations extremely seriously. Don’t get me wrong, I’m glad they do. But as I told them, I certainly didn’t do anything to get banned; I barely had the chance to, even if I had been so inclined. There was no response to this.

“Besides, I was hardly going to meet the love of my life (let’s be realistic)”

Why was it so important anyway? If my attempts at using Tinder in the past have been anything to go by, it’s probably best that I was put out of my misery at the get-go. Besides, I was hardly going to meet the love of my life (let’s be realistic). I’d feel relieved at having been banned for giving me the impetus to actually leave the house, were it not for the aggravating emails that followed, and being treated as though I’d been somewhat inappropriate and knew exactly what I’d done but was choosing to be difficult.

The ban felt particularly galling as I could only imagine two possibilities as to why my account had been flagged—all simple conjecture at this point. My bio did mention Russia, in the context that I had been studying there some months ago but was now in France (and that I’d recently cut my hair). Short of decrying my haircut too atrocious to grace the screens of anyone in a 30-mile radius, I wondered whether the mention of St Petersburg might have been what sent my account up for review. While Russia itself is a contentious topic currently, a ban based on a simple reference to the location seems hasty and ill-informed.

“It’s not the be-all and end-all to have been banned from Tinder”

The second possibility, and perhaps the most uncomfortable for me, is that I had spent some time deciding on which specific gender alignment my account would adopt. It’s a strange and difficult thing to translate a lived experience into three short taps on the loading screen of a dating app. Deciding which identity I chose and how I wanted to be included in others’ searches opened up a can of worms that I don’t have the word length to unpack. Safe to say, it took far longer than the cursory three-tap process that I had undergone years ago, on first downloading it. Having spent so long on perfecting how I wanted my account to be seen and who I wanted to be shown, only to be promptly banned, was infuriating. I was left wondering as to whether I had somehow chosen wrongly, and whether there was some official incongruency with my photos and how I had declared my identity. This wasn’t helpful in the grand scheme of things.

My attempted reasoning for the ban feels like a stretch at best, and yet - with nothing else to go on - I’m left to wonder at such extremes. It reminded me that large corporations can dress themselves up as inclusive as they like, but are, ultimately, large databases solely after your commitment and money. They didn’t have to spend the time understanding what had gone wrong in my case because they have millions of other people to keep happy, and can afford to ignore me.


Mountain View

Rejection, power and excellent cheekbones

I was left with a weird sense of injustice. We’ve all heard horror stories of weirdos encountered on Tinder. I felt indignant at the thought that all of that was allowed to continue while I- a normal-ish student abroad - was banned almost instantaneously. The lack of an appeals process has meant that I’m left resorting to a solid routine involving the bakery and beach in the hopes of having my own summer fling with an open-minded local.

It’s not the be-all and end-all to have been banned from Tinder, I realise this. There are far more pressing matters, both for me to attend to and in the world at large. Unfortunately, this has been the final nail in the coffin of my tentative hopes to meet someone vaguely my age in the next three months of au-pairing by the sea. The most I can do is work on my year abroad project and get used to meeting people in real life - a skill in need of improvement, as there’ll be no perfectly-packaged version of myself, replete with six photos and masterful caption, gracing the Tinder network anytime soon. Sorry, folks.