In the past few weeks, there have been several news stories about women using dating apps to push anti-Russian propaganda in an attempt to counter propaganda spread within Russia. 

Dating apps work because of the precise ability for smartphones to geolocate a user and match them with other users in a nearby vicinity.

Early in the invasion an extraordinary report from The Sun described a number of experiences where Ukrainian women suddenly had their phones light up with automated Tinder matches from nearby Russian soldiers waiting across the border to invade. The surreal story recounts Ukrainian women dealing with flirty Russian soldiers just miles away.

As word of the Tinder situation spread, users around the world quickly started to change their VPN to spots in Ukraine or Russia in order to either troll Russian soldiers or attempt to counter propaganda spread within Russia. A group of Slovakian creatives started a movement called Special Love Operation designed to connect with Tinder users inside Russia and help spread genuine news about the war.

There is no evidence Tinder has been used in any spy or surveillance capacity so far. 

Another incredible story takes place in Poland. Inspired by the hit Netflix series The Tinder Swindler, Kinga Szostko from Gdynia created a fake account with her name written in Cyrillic script saying she had graduated from law school in Moscow.

She set up an account and selected a real photo of herself as the profile picture. However, when Russian men started swiping right, instead of seeing more photos of Szostko, they were confronted by the barbarity being carried out by Russian troops since Putin’s invasion. 

Szostko works for a Polish organisation called The Gdynia Foundation of Entrepreneurial Helpers and explains her inspiration for setting up the account as such; “One morning, watching the photos posted on Instagram showing the horrors of war, I realised that I had to do something.

“Because Tinder in Russia has not yet been blocked, I decided to act quickly. Of course, it was not about getting to know Russian men. The idea is that Russians who are interested in my photo and want to meet will see the truth about the war in Ukraine.”
Hoping other Polish women will also get involved, she posted on Instagram: ‘With this tool we can try to reach Russian users with information. Seriously.’

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