There’s a Positive Ethical Dating App Out There. Facebook Hates It. You Might Love It.

Here’s the TL;DR:

#open has better standards and matching options and better code of conduct than any other dating app I’ve seen. It can be for anyone who is dating, regardless of orientation, gender identity, kinks (or lack thereof), or other interests.

So there’s three things I’m going to ask you to do:

  1. If you – or someone you know – is in the dating pool at all, check out #open. Spread the word (or this post, even) so that we don’t need Facebook.
  2. Whether you’re dating or not, talk about how these standards of behavior and choice are a good and necessary thing.
  3. Consider signing the petition “Facebook: Stop Censoring Open Relationships & Imposing Your Morality on my Sexuality” It ain’t gonna hurt.

There are a lot of crappy dating apps out there. Especially if you – or who you want to date – doesn’t fall into the “norm”. I recently ran into one who tried to make it seem like there were more users in my area by having quite a few bots and somehow making it seem like users in California and Texas were “44 miles away”, conveniently just within my radius. (This app was called “Joyride”; don’t waste your time.)

Even the “good” ones like OK Cupid can make serious missteps, and most others don’t have inherent ways to recognize people who don’t fit into relationship or gender stereotypes.

Enter “#open“. I was introduced to this app on one of the polyam groups I’m part of, and right away, I was impressed.

I mean, just look at those rules. “Negotiate, Include, Consent, and Experience”. It’s like “Good, Giving, and Game” were codified into an app. And while they don’t apply to me, really, the available options for identifying yourself – and what you’re looking for – are simply unmatched.

You can create a profile for yourself and a profile for yourself and your partner(s) – but you don’t have to. There are a plethora of options for identifying yourself, your orientation, and your pronouns. You can specify the gender orientation and coupled status of who you’re looking for. And finally, you can use hashtags to completely free-text define what you’re looking for, what you’re into, your hard limits, and what you’re open to. Heck, it’s even smart enough to give you previews of links so you don’t get a nasty surprise!

As the cofounder put it:

My name is Amanda—I’m the co-founder of a dating app called #open. I started #open a few years ago after a series of disappointing and degrading experiences weathering the storm of unwanted dick pics, getting catfished by married men, and wasting time on matches I had nothing in common with.

I felt like there was an opportunity to create a platform where users respected each other and their time; where we’re encouraged to express our needs, wants, and desires clearly and openly so that we can find others that share them.

Amanda

I mean, I talk to my “normal” co-workers and friends. The single ones – particularly the women – routinely tell me horror stories about signing up for a site and getting rude and obscene messages within minutes. Dick pics are – somehow – still a “given” for a woman on a dating site. And simply finding people who are honest about who they are and what they want is a whole other challenge.

Seeing this kind of code of conduct and ability to self-define seems like the jackpot to me, regardless of what kind of relationship you are looking for or how you define yourself.

So before I get into the rest of this: If you’re dating, give #open a go on iOS and Android. (Small note: You will only be able to message people if you match.) Some people that I’ve seen are looking for FWBs, some are looking for a special guest star, some are looking for traditional relationships. The beauty of the hashtag bit is that it it’s so flexible. Even in this relatively small area, there’s a non-trivial user base.

Which brings us to the next bit: Any kind of dating or social connection app relies on the network effect. A dating app with nobody on it isn’t worth anything. So advertising – even though the app is, currently, free [1] – is absolutely necessary.

Which brings us to forking Facebook.

Whether one likes it or not (I bloody don’t), Facebook is a necessary evil for advertising these days. So it came as a big setback when Facebook decided this app somehow was too racy to be a dating app ad partner. (Source 1, Source 2, Source 3).

Facebook claims that it does not allow ads that “have a sexual emphasis, such as sites with ‘couple’ or ‘group’ options. Promotion of casual dating, hookups, affairs, and ‘mail-order brides’ are also prohibited.” In attempting to justify their denial further, Zuckerberg’s baby claimed that their “advertising policies are informed by detailed global user sentiment analysis to reflect the global audience on our platform.” However, a cursory search shows that the social media giant is home to hundreds of polyamory, ethical/consensual non-monogamy, kink, and swinger discussion groups with over 350k active users seeking to engage in those online communities. And Facebook’s ban does not apply to hookup apps like Tinder (which allows partners to share a single profile), Hinge, OkCupid (which runs ads asking “foreplay or get right to it?” and also supports multiple relationship types, including non-monogamous ones), or Righter (a dating app for people with conservative political leanings).

Ralph Greco

So, surprise, Facebook is being complete hypocritical jerks, making it considerably harder for an ethical and good dating app to exist. And let me emphasize this once again:

#open has better standards and matching options and better code of conduct than any other dating app I’ve seen. It can be for anyone who is dating, regardless of orientation, gender identity, kinks (or lack thereof), or other interests.

So there’s three things I’m going to ask you to do:

  1. If you – or someone you know – is in the dating pool at all, check out #open. Spread the word (or this post, even) so that we don’t need Facebook.
  2. Whether you’re dating or not, talk about how these standards of behavior and choice are a good and necessary thing.
  3. Consider signing the petition “Facebook: Stop Censoring Open Relationships & Imposing Your Morality on my Sexuality” It ain’t gonna hurt.

Featured Photo by Matt Mariannelli on Unsplash

[1] Like really; I’ve not seen any freemium or “premium” options yet.

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