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SWIPING USERS RIGHT:A Platform Analysis of the Online Dating Application Tinder

ABSTRACT: This undergraduate thesis examines the online dating and social networking application Tinder. Tinder is a mobile-based application that uses Facebook and geographical positioning systems to connect strangers that are linked in Facebook and are in the same vicinity. Users are able to choose among the suggested profiles by either swiping left or right which indicates a no and yes. The profiles are based on the Facebook connections of the user and the search criteria that have been set. The swipe logic of the application and other features allow users to exercise a certain degree of power. However, the platform also manifests power over its users. Platform analysis is used for the study to primarily focus on the application Tinder. The study describes and breaks down the features of the application through the Mechanics, Dynamics and Aesthetics (MDA) framework proposed by Hunicke, LeBlanc and Zubek (2004). The features are then analyzed using Michel Foucault’s concepts on power relations to determine how these features allow for power manifestation. Using the MDA framework and Foucault’s concepts on power, the study describes how Tinder as a platform imposes it power over its users through the features and structure of the application.

Keywords: Tinder, platform analysis, power, MDA framework

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