Many have found themselves empowered but others tell of despair and, in extreme cases, threats of blackmail. With data provided exclusively to the BBC by analytics company App Annie, it is also possible to tell the story of the apps behind the phenomenon. Looking at 50 of the world's biggest app markets, two names dominated in Nearly a decade after it launched, Badoo had the top dating app in 21 countries. Tinder was the most downloaded dating app in 18 countries and came a close second to Badoo in many others.
There is fierce competition between the two biggest apps here. Tinder dominates northern countries; Badoo is top in the east and south. In German-speaking countries, Lovoo - developed in the city of Dresden - is number one.
Andy, 45, from Scotland, lives in London and has been married and divorced twice. He has a year-old daughter from his first marriage. He's been using Tinder for several years. Everyone else on the app is doing exactly the same thing. At the meeting, it's instantly recognisable that neither of you can live up to the expectations and you part company. The fallout is the trip home, where you feel crushed and defeated and you know you're going back to square one to start the whole process again.
The whole process is very addictive, but it's very soul-destroying.
The addictive part tends to come mainly from the loneliness, which is the whole reason that we're on this and we're trying to find someone to keep us company. The dominance of Tinder and Badoo does not extend to East Asia, where each country has a very specific preference. In China, Momo is trying to escape its origins as a dating app and become a social network.
Shruti, 30, and Nitin, 31, live in Delhi and work in finance. They found each other on TrulyMadly, an Indian-made app, which came second to Tinder in terms of downloads in They got married in November. Egypt and Saudi Arabia use apps that have little popularity beyond their borders.
Apart from Egypt, the only other country where Frim has a foothold is Russia. Aisha, whose name has been changed, is 42 and lives with her parents in Kuwait. She does not want to reveal her identity because dating is not accepted in her culture.
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Our review of 's best dating apps with help you find the app or apps! People can be aggressive, fetishizing, and downright cruel. Apps like Bumble seek to help women circumvent that by putting the power of striking up conversation in solely in their hands. But Willow wants to change the focus entirely, from the way someone looks to what his or her interests are.
Contact us at editors time. By Maya Rhodan February 11, The Brief Newsletter Sign up to receive the top stories you need to know right now.