Tinder Users Will Likely Cringe at the Data Kept About Them

Columnist talks about her own 800 pages, and experts weigh in on the ramifications
By Evann Gastaldo,  Newser Staff
Posted Sep 26, 2017 12:15 PM CDT
Updated Sep 26, 2017 12:20 PM CDT
Tinder Users Will Likely Cringe at the Data Kept About Them
In this July 5, 2015, file photo, a man uses the dating app Tinder in New Delhi.   (AP Photo/Tsering Topgyal, File)

If you use Tinder, you may be disturbed to find out just how much the dating app knows about you. Judith Duportail recently asked the company for access to the information it has on her, and, as she documents in the Guardian, she soon found out that information amounts to 800 pages of data. And not just any data, but some of her "deepest, darkest secrets," details about her "hopes, fears, sexual preferences," she writes. "Tinder knows me so well. It knows the real, inglorious version of me who copy-pasted the same joke to match 567, 568, and 569; who exchanged compulsively with 16 different people simultaneously one New Year's Day, and then ghosted 16 of them." But it also knows things like her jobs and interests, details about her education, where she's been, and much more, including her entire Tinder dating history and pictures from accounts she's deleted.

"I am horrified but absolutely not surprised," one data scientist tells her, adding that every app you use often on your phone would have similar data. He estimates Facebook has "thousands" of pages per user. "You are lured into giving away all this information," says a digital technology sociologist, who notes that since we typically don't see the amount of data we're giving away, like Duportail did, we have no idea how much it really amounts to. And there are real-world implications—Tinder, for example, already uses the information it gathers on you for targeted advertising, but imagine such intimate data being hacked or even just sold to a third party. Even without that happening, this data could affect "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 [subway], and if you can subscribe to a loan," says a privacy activist. "Eventually, your whole existence will be affected." Duportail's full piece is worth a read. (Read more Tinder stories.)

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