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If you use any of the popular dating apps, your data is being spread around more than you are

I guess you could say they’ve been caught with their pants down…

Generic online dating app
Image: Unsplash

Whew boy, have we got a doozy for you today. See, if you’ve been using popular dating apps like Grindr or OkCupid to meet people, you should probably know that over a hundred third-party companies also now know what you are into. Even the most exhibitionist amongst you should balk at this, as it means your most private of data is just spooged all over the adtech market.

Yikes. We know this is going on thanks to a deep-dive by the Oslo-based Norwegian Consumer Council (NCC), who collated the data-mining behavior of ten popular dating apps in explicit detail.

Popular dating apps are sending your data to third parties without your consent

Let’s take Grindr as the example for what data is being vacuumed up by all and sundry. Everything from device identifiers, age, gender, and latitude and longitude are all picked up.

It goes further than that though, with Chat, Dates, Friends, Networking, Relationship and Right now all being harvested by one particular third party partner, Braze. With Grindr providing a safe space for marginalized LGBTQ folks, it’s plain to see that this level of invasive data harvesting could turn dangerous to the users pretty quickly.

  • Tinder, Grinder, OkCupid, and others are all five-finger shuffling your data through over a hundred collective third parties. Everyone who’s anyone in the adtech space is there, from Facebook and Google to MoPub (owned by Twitter) and AppNexus (owned by AT&T)
  • NCC has filed “formal complaints” against Grindr and five of the third parties socketed into its user data for General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) violations
  • This data is bad enough if used for advertising, but it could easily be weaponized into tools for discrimination or exploitation

Sure, you did technically agree to this practice when you clicked on that terribly hard to read privacy policy, but really? Those things are designed to trick you, and now the GDPR is in place, they’re supposed to be written in plain language so you can actually understand what you’re signing. That means things like naming the third parties, which Grindr in particular only mentions a few.

It’s not hard to see why companies are lining up to gangbang your data, in the case of Grindr, the LBGTQ community is a monster $3.7 trillion of purchasing power. Still, maybe someone should wrap up the abhorrent ad practices before someone’s data goes dangerously viral…

What do you think? Surprised that dating companies are weaponizing your data? Let us know down below in the comments or carry the discussion over to our Twitter or Facebook.

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Maker, meme-r, and unabashed geek with nearly half a decade of blogging experience. If it runs on electricity (or even if it doesn't), Joe probably has one around his office somewhere. His hobbies include photography, animation, and hoarding Reddit gold.

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