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Entertainment

'Tinder Swindler' now Netflix's most-watched docu; Tinder bans swindler

Kristofer Purnell - Philstar.com
'Tinder Swindler' now Netflix's most-watched docu; Tinder bans swindler
Simon Leviev, dubbed 'The Tinder Swindler,' in an undated photo on Instagram, where his page also no longer exists.
Simon Leviev via Instagram

MANILA, Philippines — Netflix's "The Tinder Swindler," the documentary about how Israeli conman Simon Leviev allegedly duped women for money on the dating app Tinder, is now the streaming platform's most-watched documentary.

Netflix said that "The Tinder Swindler" racked up 166 million hours of viewing time within 28 days of its February 2, 2022 release. After four days, the documentary recorded 45.8 million hours of viewing time, which rose to 64.7 million by its first full week.

In 2021, Netflix said its most-watched documentary was "American Murder: The Family Next Door," with an audience of around 52 million subscribers.

Related Stories: 'Budol' alert: 'Tinder Swindler' victim shares lessons from ordeal

Apart from Simon's cons, "The Tinder Swindler" also shows how a group of women bonded together to put an end to his schemes.

"We thank these women for coming forward to share their stories and shed light on the realities of romance fraud. We have a zero tolerance policy for this type of behavior and are constantly investing in ways to keep members safe while they’re using Tinder – including a robust suite of safety features and in-app safety education, fraud detection technology, and working directly with law enforcement when needed. Scams and frauds are the enemy of genuine connection, and exposing these offenses makes our entire community stronger. We strongly encourage members to report any suspicious behavior to us directly so we are able to identify, stop, and remove criminals before they hurt anyone else," a Tinder representative exclusively told Philstar.com in a virtual presser and via e-mail.

According to The Times of Israel, Simon (born Shimon Hayut) was convicted of theft, forgery and fraud over an estimated $10 million from victims across Europe, allegedly between 2017 and 2019.

He was arrested in 2019 for using a forged passport and sentenced to 15 months in jail for previous fraud charges, however, he was released after five months.

Simon was also sued by the real Leviev family, owner of a massive diamond empire, for false representation, defamation, invasion of privacy, and breach of trademarks.

The Netflix documentary, however, was not updated to include that Simon is already banned from the app, in contrast to what is said the documentary that Simon is back on the app.

"We banned Simon Leviev and any of his known aliases as soon as the story of his actions became public in 2019. He is permanently banned from Tinder. In the lead up to the release of the documentary, we conducted additional internal investigations and can confirm Simon Leviev is not active on Tinder under any of his known aliases," the rep said.

From a campus app, Tinder has grown into a worldwide social networking site with over 150 million downloads in many countries because it addresses a "huge gap" in "need for human connections," said the representative.

The rep assured that Simon and other fraudsters like him have been permanently banned from their site.

"Tinder has invested in building an always-evolving suite of safety tools to address the unique needs and concerns of members," said the representative, clarifying that Tinder is not only for dating, but also for addressing mental health through finding lasting support groups, friendships and people with common interests and hobbies.

According to the rep, here are the top fraud-fighting features on Tinder: 

  • Proactive member education: via real-time alerts and information in Tinder’s Safety Center. The best defense against fraud is understanding what to look out for.
  • An invisible shield of machine learning: Using advanced ML systems, Tinder works to identify patterns and bad actors to quickly remove them from the platform.
  • Block Contacts: Within profile settings, you can block existing contacts from seeing you (and vice versa) if you’ve had a bad experience with someone. 
  • Verification tools: Be more confident matches are who they say they are. On Tinder, look out for a blue check mark on your matches’ profile to indicate they are photo verified. 
  • Reporting tools: From profiles, media, to conversations, Tinder makes it easy to quickly report accounts. We want to ensure those who have had a bad experience can be heard. The most important thing members can do to keep the community safe is report anyone they believe to be suspicious. — Reports from Deni Rose M. Afinidad-Bernardo

RELATED: 'Tinder Swindler' Simon Leviev sued by real Leviev diamond family

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