Tindr Pulls Fake Profiles That Encourage Condom Use

Earlier this year, the Brazilian Ministry of Health took a stand against the rapid spread of infection through hook-up culture.


During Carnival, the department created profiles on popular hook-ups apps, Tindr and Hornet, offering condom-less, no-strings-attached sex with very attractive people.

But Tindr removed the fake profiles for their app, citing them as advertisements which are not allowed. However, since the Ministry of Health was not actively selling anything, just providing helpful reminders to be safe during hook ups, they have disputed their ban.

If someone swiped right to indicate their interest in the person, they received a message from the Department of Health reminding them to use condoms and other forms of protection in their hook-ups. Messages reminded users that you can’t tell if someone has HIV just by looking at them, and barrier methods are a great way to stay safe while still having fun with strangers.

The profiles, which were positioned at strategic locations, gained over 2,000 interactions over the course of a weekend. Most reacted positively to the campaign, with a lot of responses saying, “Cool!” or, “I just got tested, thanks!”


This kind of guerrilla marketing is pretty awesome for a couple of reasons. First of all, it targeted a wide demographic, including the LGBTQ community, by including profiles of LGBTQ people and on LGBTQ-focused applications.

In fact, a second hook-up app, Hornet, which is primarily used by men looking to have sex with other men, also has a ban on fake accounts but decided to let the Ministry of Health continue with their campaign. In fact, Hornet wants to work further with the Ministry of Health to produce more safety-conscious content. Which is que massa.

Second, it made a safer sex message into something sex positive, which can be hard to do. Plenty of safer sex programs like to go the doom and gloom route. It’s not uncommon in the United States especially, which both Kara and yours truly wrote about when we discussed our sex ed experiences.

And like the U.S, Brazil needs safer sex. The HIV rates in the country have skyrocketed over the last ten years, going up by 33% among people ages 15-24. Could Brazil’s revolution in sexual health be just as simple as swiping right?

Or did the message not get out to the right people? A study in the United States found that people going for casual hook-ups were the best protected out of everyone when it came to condoms. It was couples who were in relationships who struggled with staying safe– the longer you trusted someone, the less you cared about sharing with them.

The results of this marketing campaign have yet to be analyzed. But Brazil isn’t the first country to do viral (pun intended) safer sex marketing on Tindr. Both Irish and Israeli-based groups have tried it before, to varied results. Still, this particular campaign hurts no one. In fact, it could have even saved lives.


Brazil’s previous efforts at protecting their citizens include the promotion of caipirinha-flavored condoms during the past summer’s World Cup.

[Sources: Ministry of Health, the Verge]

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