A California-based hacker has fiddled with the Tinder dating app to trick straight men into flirting with each other.
The computer engineer, known only as “Patrick”, temporarily changed Tinder’s API, the software’s building blocks, to fool male users into thinking they were talking to women.
According to The Verge, many of Patrick’s female friends had complained about the messages they received from men on Tinder. “The original idea was to throw that back into the face of the people doing it to see how they would react,” he told the website.
His program identifies two men who “like” one of his bait profiles and then matches them to each other, although he said he scrambled any telephone numbers shared by the men and stepped in if they tried to arrange a real-life meeting.
The hacker estimated he was overseeing 40 conversations within the first 12 hours.
In one exchange, posted online without names or images, a man says he would be a “crazy over-protective father” if he had daughters. The other man replies: “Huh? What do you mean being a father?”
Others were left equally confused, with one man finally asking: “Let’s be straightforward before we continue. What do you have between your legs and what are you looking for?”
It’s not the first time Tinder has been susceptible to hacking, notes The Verge. Two years ago, a loophole in the app was used to reveal users’ locations to within 100ft and last year a number of experts reportedly managed to tweak the system to automatically “mass-like” every girl they came across.
“Tinder makes it surprisingly easy to bot their system,” said Patrick. “As long as you have a Facebook authentication token, you can behave as a robot as if you were a person.”