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Most dating apps likely sell users' personal data for advertising: Report reveals

As dating apps continue to gain popularity, users need to be aware of the privacy risks that are associated with these platforms. By following the best practices and being mindful of their privacy settings, users could protect their personal information.

Edited By: Saumya Nigam @snigam04 New Delhi Published on: April 23, 2024 19:14 IST
dating app, tech news,
Image Source : FILE Dating app

A recent report surfaced, stating that it will shed light on the privacy practices of dating apps, and that reveals a significant majority of them may share or sell users' data for advertising purposes. Conducted by Mozilla, the developer of the Firefox Internet browser, the study will examine 25 dating apps and found that 22 of them have received the lowest rating of 'Privacy Not Included.'

Lack of privacy protection

As per the report, dating apps have failed to adequately protect users' personal information. Although, some of the apps have received positive feedback for their privacy practices, like queer-owned and operated Lex, others, including Happn and Harmony, received only adequate ratings.

Misha Rykov, Researcher has emphasized the concerning trend, stating, "Dating apps claim the more personal data you share, the more likely you are to find love. We have no way of knowing if that’s true. What we do know is that most dating apps fail spectacularly at protecting that information."

Data collection practices

The report highlighted various data collection practices which have been employed by dating apps, with approximately 25 per cent of collecting metadata from users' content. This metadata will include information about when the photos or videos were taken, the date and their location. Moreover, many dating apps, like Plenty of Fish, BLK, Match, Hinge, Tinder, OKCupid, and BlackPeopleMeet, have access to precise geo-location data from their users.

Some apps, like Hinge also collect location information in the background, even when the app is not actively being used by the user, raising concerns about constant tracking of the users' movements.

Privacy recommendations

In response to these privacy concerns, the researchers have provided three key recommendations for users of dating apps. 

  1. First, they advised treating dating profiles more like LinkedIn profiles, and being mindful of the information shared. 
  2. Second, they cautioned against logging in with third-party accounts, which may grant apps access to additional personal data. 
  3. Finally, they suggested limiting app permissions wherever possible to minimize the amount of data shared with dating platforms.

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Inputs from IANS

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