CEDAR RAPIDS, Iowa - (KCRG-TV9) One Cedar Rapids woman found herself temporarily banned from Tinder after asking her matches if they planned to support presidential candidate Bernie Sanders in Tuesday’s New Hampshire primary.
“I paid for a month membership so I could reach people in New Hampshire,” said Haley Lent, a 22-year-old photographer in Cedar Rapids. “I would just start up a conversation by asking ‘Hey, what’s up,’ that sort of thing and then I’d ask if they plan on voting for Bernie Sanders.”
Lent is married, with three children, and has no interest in dating anyone on the app. But she said a Facebook page called ‘Bernie Sanders’ Dank Meme Stash’ got her thinking about creative ways to reach young voters.
“Social media is everywhere,” she said. “Some guys I talked to would ask if I’m really asking for votes for him on Tinder and they’d call it genius.”
Lent downloaded the app on Wednesday, paying $10 for one month of premium access - meaning she could match with men outside of Iowa, specifically in her target state of New Hampshire.
Lent said she reached about 100 men – including one who planned to vote for Donald Trump who she said she swayed to support Sanders. But on Thursday, in the middle of typing a message, the app locked her out.
The screen said she’d been reported by other users too many times and her account was under review.
“I think it’s weird that they just take reports from people,” she said. “Anyone can get mad at you and report you, especially because I don’t want to go on dates with them. I feel like Tinder should be reviewing things and then deciding, instead of just locking people out.”
“We whole-heartedly support people sharing their political views on Tinder, but we don't allow spamming,” said Rosette Pambakian, vice president of global communications and branding for Tinder, said in an emailed statement. “So feel free to spread the Bern, just don't spam.”
But Lent feels her politically motivated questions aren’t the same as spamming.
“I don’t think I did anything wrong,” she said, adding she has emailed the company asking for access to her account, but has not received a response.
Lent also caucused for the first time this year, in support of Sanders.
Two nights later, she also tattooed an outline of Sanders’ face on her arm – something she said she won’t regret, even if Sander’s doesn’t win the nomination.
“People get tattoos of inspirational people all the time,” she said. “I think I’m going to look back on this whole thing as something big. I want to tell my kids about it when they’re older. Plus, it looks cool.”
According to Reuters, Lent is not the only woman to be locked out of Tinder after stumping for Sanders.