Marines swipe left on dat­ing apps as re­cruit­ment tool

The Washington Times Weekly - - Politics - BY BEN WOLF­GANG

“Kaitlin Robert­son” may or may not ex­ist, but ei­ther way the Marine Corps wants to make sure she stops try­ing to lure new re­cruits.

Marine of­fi­cials said last week they’ve re­minded re­cruit­ing of­fi­cers not to use dat­ing apps as a way to at­tract young men to con­sider sign­ing up, and made clear that Bum­ble, Tin­der, and other ro­man­tic web­sites aren’t ac­cept­able ways to boost their ranks. The is­sue arose af­ter a Red­dit user posted screen shots of a con­ver­sa­tion on Bum­ble — a pop­u­lar dat­ing app that dif­fers from its com­peti­tors in that it re­quires women to ini­ti­ate a con­ver­sa­tion — in which a woman named Kaitlin tried to con­vince him to join the Marines.

“Hey! My name is Kaitlin Robert­son and I am with the Marines Corps,” the woman said. “Have you ever con­sid­ered join­ing the mil­i­tary? I would love to have one of my re­cruiters sit down and talk with you about all of your op­tions within the Marine Corps, in­clud­ing ed­u­ca­tion, fi­nan­cial sta­bil­ity, hun­dreds of job op­por­tu­ni­ties, and free health/den­tal in­sur­ance, just to name a few. I would love to make you part of our Marine Corps fam­ily!!”

The on­line in­ter­ac­tion was first re­ported by the Marine Corps Times. The Bum­ble user quickly re­buffed the at­tempt.

“You’re not even go­ing to try to bribe me with crayons?” he re­sponded.

Marine Corps of­fi­cials said they had sent the word out to all its re­cruiters not to not to form a short- or long-term re­la­tion­ship with dat­ing apps.

“The Marine Corps Re­cruit­ing Com­mand is aware of a story re­ported Mon­day night al­leg­ing the use of a so­cial me­dia dat­ing ap­pli­ca­tion by a Marine re­cruiter to in­ter­act with the pub­lic. Marine re­cruiters are not per­mit­ted by pol­icy to use dat­ing apps to con­tact peo­ple in a busi­ness ca­pac­ity and the per­son named in the ar­ti­cle is not a Marine re­cruiter,” Gun­nery Sgt. Justin Kro­nen­berg told The Wash­ing­ton Times. “Still, com­mand-wide guid­ance was reem­pha­sized to­day to en­sure re­cruiters are up to date with on­line con­duct ex­pec­ta­tions.”

Marine Corps of­fi­cials said they searched “Kaitlin Robert­son” and found no Marines or Marine re­cruiters with that name, and it ap­pears an overzeal­ous re­cruiter crafted a fake Bum­ble pro­file with the moniker.

It’s un­clear who is shown in the Bum­ble pro­file photo.

“We don’t know if that’s a real photo,” a Marine of­fi­cial said. “We take it se­ri­ously enough to run a quick search of our per­son­nel data­base to find out it’s not an ac­tive-duty Marine, it’s not a Marine re­cruiter.”

Be­yond those searches, of­fi­cials say it’s next to im­pos­si­ble to find out who made the pro­file, how long it has been in use, and how many men may have tried to take up “Kaitlin’s” of­fer.

Of­fi­cials said there have been “anec­do­tal in­stances” of sim­i­lar re­cruit­ing at­tempts in the past, though they didn’t elab­o­rate on the num­ber or if any­one had been discipline­d as a re­sult.

More broadly, of­fi­cials said the Marine Corps “does not dis­cour­age in­no­va­tion” and that their pol­icy en­cour­ages re­cruiters “who want to try some­thing new” — though rad­i­cal de­par­tures from past prac­tice are sup­posed to be run up the chain of com­mand for ap­proval.

In this case, such ap­proval was not granted to the re­cruiter who made the Bum­ble pro­file, of­fi­cials said.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from USA

© PressReader. All rights reserved.