Two men who were lured into contacting a 15-year-old girl on Tinder as part of an online sting have been jailed.
Back in January 2015, an Australian vigilante group posted a video called The Tinder Experiment, which showed how they had created a fake profile for a 15-year-old girl called Imogen.
Although the profile displayed her age as 18, her bio said she was actually 15.
After creating the account, they swiped through every profile on Tinder, amassing lots of matches and eventually planning a meeting with two men, aged 31 and 43, despite the fact that Imogen regularly said she was only 15.
The vigilantes then filmed the encounters and posted the videos online.
And as a result of the students’ efforts, the police have now used the information collected in their “experiment”, which included six names of people who had contacted the fake 15-year-old, to charge and convict two men.
Detective Senior Constable Emma O’Rourke, from the Joint Anti-Child Exploitation Team told AAP: “Not all of these people came to meet them, some did and as a result of that we approached them covertly to engage with us.
“And as a result two of the males have been charged and convicted.”
One of the men, Nicolaos Katsamas, was given two and a half years in jail, but will be released on a $5,000 good behaviour bond after serving six months.
He had initially contacted the students during their Tinder Experiment, and later was found to be sending sexual and inappropriate messages to a covert police officer acting as a 13-year-old.
Police also used information from the Melbourne students’ online sting to catch Tobias Kilsby, who also sent sexually explicit messages to an undercover police officer posing as a 13-year-old girl, and was jailed for two years.
Detective Constable Tas Gagatsakis told AAP: “The Tinder Experiment did what police were already doing – just on a different platform.
“We operate on all platforms, Tinder is usually for users 18 and over, but when these things come to light we are very interested in trying to find out what is going on.”
Earlier this year, Tinder shut its service for under-18s, saying that although it was losing 3% of its global user base, it was “the right thing to do”.