Tinder cancels its apocalyptic-themed show ‘Swipe Night’ out of sensitivity to coronavirus outbreak

Citing sensitivities to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, dating app Tinder is canceling the international release of its apocalyptic-themed, in-app video series, “Swipe Night.” The company had planned to release the first season of the show to 10 new markets across Europe and Asia this quarter, in light of its recent success in boosting key app metrics here in the U.S.

“Swipe Night” was Tinder’s first foray into video, offering a five-minute interactive story where users made choices to progress the narrative, like a choose-your-own-adventure. These choices would then be highlighted on viewers’ profiles and were used to match them with others who also took the same action. In addition, the video series gave users a way to break the ice — they could start by talking about the show, instead of resorting to pick-up lines and other awkward openings.

Tinder said the first season in the U.S. had been viewed by millions, and had led to double-digit increases in matches and messages. As a result, Tinder planned to launch a season 2 of the show in the U.S. and roll out the first season to international markets.

The shows’ international cancelation was reported earlier this week by Variety and confirmed by Tinder directly as well as through a brief announcement published to its newsroom. The statement reads:

We’ve decided not to launch the Swipe Night series around the world this weekend. We were excited to bring this innovation to our members outside of the US, but given the series’ apocalyptic theme, and because we are sensitive to the current events our members are experiencing, we felt it would be difficult to launch it in the right spirit.

While a number of Hollywood movies are getting delayed due to concerns about moviegoer attendance, Tinder’s decision was really more about its show’s content. Now is not the time to dramatize the apocalypse for fun, in other words.

In addition to canceling “Swipe Night,” Tinder has addressed the COVID-19 pandemic in other ways, as well.  Earlier this month the app added new safety precautions to its app, aligned to WHO’s recommendations — like washing hands, avoid touching face, using hand sanitizer, and maintaining social distance. It also linked out to WHO so users could learn more.