The Industry

Tinder Will Now Allow Users to Send Each Other Bitmoji Stickers

A bitmoji looks on in horror at a dumpster fire.
Artist’s depiction of Tinder if it let you send photos. Sofie Werthan/Bitmoji

Tinder does not allow its users to send photographs to their matches, the better to prevent…well, you can guess. But as of Tuesday, the dating app is allowing users in Canada and Mexico to use images from the personalized-avatar app Bitmoji on Tinder, allowing them to slide into each other’s DMs with flirtatious cartoons.

Tinder users can message each other within the app, but the company’s ban on sending images to keep out explicit content does have a significant downside: Tinder users are limited to seeing only a few carefully curated photos of other users on the site. Users can select anywhere from one to nine images of themselves to attach to their profile, which others can view when swiping through the app. Beyond that, it may be a bit of a mystery what another person on Tinder really looks like.

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So the integration of Bitmoji’s self-representative avatars is a creative workaround intended to help users put themselves on display in a more authentic, multifaceted way—as well as an instance of corporate crosspollination, since Bitmoji’s parent company is owned by Snap Inc. The integration is possible because of Snap Kit, which app-makers can use to integrate Snap Chat with their own products. (Tinder has also been experimenting with a feature to insert looping GIFs into users’ profile.)

The incorporation of Bitmojis strikes an interesting, appealing balance for Tinder: As Amanda Hess argued in Slate in 2016, they’re helpful expressive tools as well as useful vessels for outsourcing emotions online. And there’s no chance of any impropriety with the cartoons—Bitmojis can be saucy or silly, but they are never graphic.

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With this integration, Tinder users with the Snapchat app will be able to link the two accounts so that people can send the stickers through Tinder’s in-app chat function. Tinder matches will not be able to access each other’s Snapchat handles—only the Bitmoji.

Currently, the Bitmoji feature is just a test, but Tinder told Engadget that it intends to introduce the feature to U.S. users before the end of the summer. For now, it’s easy for users in Canada and Mexico to access the new tool: Simply tap the new green Bitmoji icon in Tinder’s chat box and connect to your Snapchat account.

While Bitmojis may give users a sense of their potential matches’ creativity, they shouldn’t expect it to tell them much about their looks: After all, you can make your cartoon avatar look like just about anything.

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