Dangerous liaisons? How dating apps use/misuse your data

Asia's Tech News Daily

Dangerous liaisons? How dating apps use/misuse your data
© Provided by CNBCTV18 Bumble IPO: Dating app aims for nearly $6 billion valuation in US

Dating apps have become popular platform with the younger set to meet potential romantic partners. Apps like Tinder, Bumble, Happn, OkCupid and more are a big hit with the smartphone generation. Their popularity further increased during the pandemic but many users are not aware of how their data is being used by these dating apps.

What data do the apps collect?

The apps collect all the information that users share on their profiles. The user’s age, location, sexual orientation, religion and other personal information that are add to their profile can be stored by the dating apps. Additionally, location data, mobile numbers, uploaded pictures, and even the conversations that users may have had with other users of the app may be stored.

But that’s not the only data that these apps are storing. By linking them with your other social media accounts, they can also collect and store data that is linked with various social media platforms like Facebook and Instagram. Journalist Judith Duportail had found that Tinder had collected over 800 pages of information on her profile, reported The Guardian.

Also read: Explained: App permissions, updated passwords to browsing in private mode, here’s how to ensure digital privacy

What can companies do with the data?

Ostensibly, the apps and platforms use the data to help users find better ‘matches’ through their algorithms and also increase the chances of a prospective match liking a particular profile. While these companies are not willing to share how exactly their algorithms use all the collected data, most of them use machine learning to show the profiles of users who are likely to match with each other based on previous matches.

But apart from doing what they claim they are using the data for, dating platforms also share the data with third-party services for various reasons. These can include sharing a user’s sexual orientation, location, political affiliation and more.

Also read: Bug in dating app Bumble reveals users’ location data

While the dating apps and platforms are quick to clarify that the data is not being sold to third parties, security concerns still are a concern. With these vulnerable platforms storing highly sensitive data, hackers can easily swoop down on highly sensitive data.

Hackers have recently used apps like Grindr, Tinder, Bumble and more to make victims install fake cryptocurrency apps on their mobile devices.

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