Popular dating app Tinder sent a cease-and-desist letter to the L.A.-based AIDS Healthcare Foundation this week after the nonprofit linked the dating app to sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) while advertising free medical testing.
"These unprovoked and wholly unsubstantiated accusations are made to irreparably damage Tinder's reputation," the letter read, CNN reported
. "While Tinder strongly supports such testing, the billboard's statements are not founded upon any scientific evidence and are incapable of withstanding critical analysis."
AHF's billboard campaign, which began September 18, features a silhouetted man and woman with the words "Tinder" and "chlamydia" scrawled across their faces. The billboard also features two men with the words "Grindr" (a dating app aimed at gay men) and "gonorrhea" on their faces. The billboard ultimately advertises FreeSTDCheck.org.
"We were surprised at the approach the AHF took, and paused the [foundation's in-app ad] campaign in order to speak with them and assess our relationship," a Grindr spokesperson told CNNMoney. "In the end, we're all on the same page regarding this issue, as health and wellness concerns us all."
The Washington Post reported
that more than 50 of the billboards went up around Los Angeles, including one situated just two blocks from Tinder's company headquarters.
In defending the billboard campaign, AHF cited a Rhode Island Department of Health report that linked a rise in STD cases with social media's ability to "arrange casual and often anonymous sexual encounters."
"Mobile dating apps are rapidly altering the sexual landscape by making casual sex as easily available as ordering a pizza," said Whitney Engeran-Cordova, a senior director at AHF.
"It’s logical, if you can be hooked up with someone in an urban area within minutes," foundation president Michael Weinstein told The Associated Press
, "of course you’re going to have to more STDs."
"We'd rather work with them than fight them," he added, referring to the dating companies.
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