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Don’t be surprised when you see students swiping away at their phones this week. They are swiping right — a “yes” signal — on the dating app Tinder in order to win a concert featuring stripper-turned-rapper Cardi B. But, according to the contest rules, only 200 students from the winning school can attend a performance given by the artist.

On March 30, Tinder started the #SwipeOff challenge, in which students from the 64 selected colleges compete with each other to swipe right on the most people; schools with the most right swipes move on as each round cuts the number of colleges remaining in half. 

The University is now in the finals round, competing against seven other colleges to try and make the championship round.

Ans Nawaz ’21 heard about the contest online, and, after verifying that it was legitimate, sent promotional materials to friends, residential college Listservs, Facebook groups, and GroupMes, encouraging students to “swipe right for Cardi B.”

“One of my [hall mates] came up to me yesterday and said, ‘I downloaded Tinder just for you, just to swipe for Cardi B,’” he said, adding that a lot of students have put the phase “swiping just for Cardi” in their bios.

Nawaz and his friends bought “Tinder Plus,” an in-app subscription that removes the limit on the amount of right swipes per day.

“We take study breaks where we swipe,” said Nawaz, demonstrating how he studies and swipes simultaneously.

In an attempt to dispel false claims that USG was promoting the Tinder competition, Social Committee Chair Liam Glass ’19 provided the following statement to the ‘Prince’:

“Let me start by saying I'm a huge Cardi B fan, and if we thought that this concert was a fair and good opportunity for students to see her perform, we'd have supported it,” wrote Glass in an email. “Though there have been emails and posts using USG or [the] Social Committee’s names, none of those were officially approved or sent by individuals acting as members of USG.”

“A member of Soc Comm [publicized] the contest as a student, not as a member of Soc Comm,” Glass said.

Glass also pointed out that even if the University won the contest, “this would be separate from Lawnparties.”

“The first issue with this campaign is that it seems very problematic to widely advocate (as USG, Social Committee, or any organization) that students swipe right on random profiles they don't know in hopes of winning a contest,” wrote Glass. “This seems creepy and a strange show of support for a very questionable platform (which already reinforces harmful profiling and stereotyping).”

After reading the terms and conditions of the contest, Glass discovered that only “hundreds” of students would be able to attend and that certain distance stipulations dictate that the concert would “most likely be closer to NYC or Philadelphia.” However, Glass’s primary concern was that “all taxes and additional costs not covered by Tinder must be covered by the winning university.”

“It is unclear how much that would be on top of taxes,” wrote Glass. “Given that the concert [would] explicitly not be for the full student body even if we won, this would be a wrongful exercise of a significant amount of USG resources.”

Glass concluded his statement with concerns about the contest’s implications.

“Ultimately, given the many restrictions on this contest, it seems more a publicity campaign for Tinder to collect the data of as many college students as possible than anything else,” Glass noted.

Indeed, Tinder has been scrutinized in recent years for its use of data harvesting and the extensive information that it retains about each of its users. Tinder’s privacy policy even states that “you should not expect that your personal information, chats, or other communications will always remain secure.”

Not everyone finds the contest problematic, however.

“I mean, even if it is just a ploy to get people on Tinder, which is it probably is, if it’s going to get us a concert with someone who’s actually good, then who really cares?” said Alice Wistar ’20 in an interview with the ‘Prince’ on Tuesday.

The performer herself also expresses support for the contest.

"College students have been huge supporters of me and my music, so I'm super excited to show them some love by performing an exclusive concert on the winning campus thanks to Tinder,” said Cardi B in a statement quoted in numerous sources.

On April 2, the University advanced into the round of 32 and made its way to the finals on April 9. Now, University students are competing against Boston University, Duke, Northeastern, UC San Diego, University of Connecticut, University of Massachusetts Amherst, University of Pennsylvania, and University of Illinois Urbana Champaign in order to make it to the championship round, which will be announced on April 13. After each round, the swipe count is set to zero. The winner is announced on April 18, and the concert will take place on April 25 “at a venue within 50 miles of the Winner's School campus,” according to the contest guidelines.

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