Handing over your personal data is now often the cost of romance, as online dating services and apps vacuum up information about their users’ lifestyle and preferences.
Why it matters: Dating app users provide sensitive information like drug usage habits and sexual preferences in hopes of finding a romantic match. How online dating services use and share that data worries users,according to an Axios-SurveyMonkey poll, but the services nonetheless have become a central part of the modern social scene.
What they know:
The details: Popular dating websites broadly collect information on their users for advertising purposes from the minute they first log on to the site, according to an analysis by the online privacy company Ghostery of the websites for OkCupid, Match.com, Plenty of Fish, Christian Mingle, JDate and eHarmony. (Ghostery, which performed the analysis for Axios, lets people block ad trackers as they browse the web.)
Many of these trackers come from third parties. OkCupid installed seven ad trackers to watch users as they set up their profiles. Another 11 came from third parties at the time Ghostery ran its analysis. Trackers include data companies that often sell data to other companies looking to target people, Hanson says.
Match Group owns a number of dating services, including Tinder and OkCupid. The privacy policies say user data can be shared with other Match Group-owned services.
What they’re saying: A spokesperson for Match Group says in a statement said that data collected by its companies "enables us to make product improvements, deliver relevant advertisements and continually innovate and optimize the user experience."
"Data collected by ad trackers and third parties is 100% anonymized," the spokesperson says. "Our portfolio of companies never share personally identifiable information with third parties for any purpose."
Why you’ll hear about this again: Researchers routinely uncover security risks related to dating apps.