Swipe, match, chat, meet up, drink, drink too much, wake up, regret poor life decisions.
Or meet your spouse, because everyone has their own Tinder experience to tell.
One thing all users do have in common is that the dating app is gathering data on us, and some of what they can get their hands on might just surprise you.
If you live in Europe you can ask Tinder to send you that info under the EU data protection law, and that’s just what Guardian journalist Judith Duportail did.
It turns out that they had plenty of data on Judith, so let’s dish that dirt:
Some 800 pages came back containing information such as my Facebook “likes”, my photos from Instagram (even after I deleted the associated account), my education, the age-rank of men I was interested in, how many times I connected, when and where every online conversation with every single one of my matches happened … the list goes on…
I was amazed by how much information I was voluntarily disclosing: from locations, interests and jobs, to pictures, music tastes and what I liked to eat. But I quickly realised I wasn’t the only one.
Yeah, peeps on Tinder are pretty prone to exposing all kinds of data without a second thought, but it’s the sum total of the interactions that starts to shed light on those desires:
“What you are describing is called secondary implicit disclosed information,” explains Alessandro Acquisti, professor of information technology at Carnegie Mellon University. “Tinder knows much more about you when studying your behaviour on the app. It knows how often you connect and at which times; the percentage of white men, black men, Asian men you have matched; which kinds of people are interested in you; which words you use the most; how much time people spend on your picture before swiping you, and so on. Personal data is the fuel of the economy. Consumers’ data is being traded and transacted for the purpose of advertising.”
The company defends this policy, stating that collecting this data also helps match you with your one true love, but it turns out your swipes can have a far wider reach than you might have thought:
Your personal data affects who you see first on Tinder, yes,” says [privacy activist Paul-Olivier] Dehaye. “But also what job offers you have access to on LinkedIn, how much you will pay for insuring your car, which ad you will see in the tube and if you can subscribe to a loan.
“We are leaning towards a more and more opaque society, towards an even more intangible world where data collected about you will decide even larger facets of your life. Eventually, your whole existence will be affected.”
I’ll be honest, I didn’t see that coming. LinkedIn even – nowhere is safe and nothing is sacred.
Anyway, happy swiping.
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