Technology has made a lot of things easier for humankind. For starters, thanks to the magic of modern plumbing, we no longer have to bury our poop in a hole in the ground, or wipe our butts with our own digits. (Actually, all things poop-related are pretty much 100% better thanks to technology.)
But one thing technology has not been able to improve upon is monogamy. Thanks to the endless buffet of carnal delights offered by apps like Tinder and websites like Ashley Madison, it's never been harder to just stick it in one person for the rest of your life. Subsequently, digital infidelity has spawned a new cottage industry of tools and spyware, intended to help jealous (or just paranoid) spouses catch their partners in the act online.
The latest entry in this genre? Swipebuster, a website that, for a mere $5, allows you to see if your cheating spouse (or ex, or friend, or just the guy across the street who you secretly watch changing every once in a while, no biggie) is trollin' for genitalia on Tinder.
The app, as reported by Vanity Fair, is fairly simple: You enter the name, age and approximate location of the person you want to
stalk check up on. From there, Swipebuster pulls up Tinder's application programming interface (API) and cross-references the data you entered against the app's data. It then pulls up a series of profile photos, so you can narrow down your options and find out if the person you're looking for is fuckin' swiping around.
The app's founder claims he launched the cheater-catching app as a way to shed light on Tinder's glaring privacy issues, but that is kinda like saying that the Pirates of the Caribbean movies are documentaries about the early 18th-century rise of buccaneering in the French colonies: It might be partly true, but it doesn't tell the whole story.
To be fair to Swipebuster, it's far from the only option to catch wayward spouses on the internet: There are already a slew of apps that allow you to monitor, if not overtly track, your partner's online activity, from the $40/month surveillance app mSpy to the literally named Couple Tracker. (Couple Tracker requires both partners to opt in to track each other's digital activity, which somehow makes it both more and less creepy at the same time.)
Yet while suspicious spouses and the generally paranoid might shell out a fiver to confirm their worst suspicions, there are a few clearly troubling issues with the app — specifically, that it might not be used by suspicious spouses in the first place. As Good Housekeeping beauty editor Sam Escobar recently pointed out on Twitter, there's nothing stopping, say, jealous or abusive exes from using Swipebuster as yet another way to stalk and control their former partners:
Of course, if a spurned lover is truly obsessed with someone they'll stop at nothing to track them down, albeit in perhaps slightly more technologically sophisticated ways. And as a Tinder spokesperson soberingly pointed out to Vanity Fair, "Searchable information on the website is public information that Tinder users have on their profiles" — in other words, you can find it anyway.
Even more troubling, though, is not Swipebuster's alternative uses, but its intended one. It sucks to be cheated on or to suspect that your partner is cheating, and it's a bitter pain that the partners of approximately 25% of married men, according to one study, know all too well.
Yet almost as bad as discovering your partner is cheating is discovering they're not — and getting caught in the act of trying to bust them. As any good relationship therapist will tell you, relationships are built on a foundation of mutual respect and trust, and shelling out $5 to find out whether your bored partner has idly swiped through shirtless mirror selfies on Tinder directly contradicts those principles.
And even if your partner has downloaded Tinder, so the hell what? An estimated 42% of non-single Tinder users have — and it would be preposterous to assume that all of these people are actively cheating. If nothing else, people in relationships downloading Tinder is proof that the app is little more than a game — and that the person sitting right next to you is probably a hell of a lot more attractive than the ab-flashing fuckboi you just swiped left on.