Dating apps: selling your private information?

SAN DIEGO (KUSI) – There is exponential growth in online dating users with more than 30 million in the United States alone. The dating app Tinder, which has the most users right now, registers 57 million profiles around the world, and says users log on an average of four times per day. Tinder also reports nearly two billion swipes every day. This means dating apps are seeing a lot of action.

In order to pair people with their match, the app collects data on the user. The top app, Tinder, collects information like location, your job, Spotify playlists and what you message to others.

Another top dating app called Hinge collects information like race and drug use along with other intimate details.

And Grinder, the leading app for the LGBTQ community tells users up front they cannot guarantee the security of your personal data.

In 2018, Grinder admitted to selling user’s HIV status to a third party.

Then in January 2020, a Norwegian consumer council released a report about the app prompting concerns by officials from the Department of Justice.

These concerns about selling American’s personal information triggered the Chinese-owned app to sell. Grindr had a price tag of more than 600 million dollars and is now owned by an investor group called San Vicente Acquisition.

The FTC regulates on a system known as notice and choice, which leaves dating apps free to set their own privacy policies.

MatchGroup, which is the largest dating app company, controls of 60 percent of apps on the market right now, including Tinder, Match, Hinge and Plenty of Fish. Because of this largely consolidated industry, there’s relatively no reason for companies to voluntarily improve the data privacy and security of their services, which, according to the experts, means it’s up to you to make sure you only share things you are comfortable with the rest of the world knowing.

The FTC has issued complaints about their privacy standards against Match Group, again they own 60 percent of dating apps, and social networking service Ashley Madison. But until there’s a national standard, experts say online daters will remain relatively unprotected.

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