Dating apps have revolutionized the way people meet in the modern world—making it easier than ever to find romantic partners who share your hobbies, interests, and goals.
However, like most technology, they also bring various concerns. Here are the five biggest privacy disasters and how these apps could be putting us at risk.
1. Personal Data Leaks and Breach
The extent of data harvesting in dating apps already compromises privacy, but the issue is compounded by security breaches and data leaks.
With personal data proving to be so valuable, it is a frequent target of hackers and cybercriminals. The consequences of a dating-site data breach can be far-reaching. For example, following the Ashley Madison breach, the workplaces of many users were identified due to the use of company email addresses.
But even if you’re not using a more controversial service like Ashley Madison, sensitive data can be harvested and leaked by companies. Sometimes, that data is purposefully shared with third parties. For example, in 2018 Grindr admitted that it shared users’ HIV status with other companies. While this data was encrypted, feedback from users resulted in Grindr ending its policy of sharing this data with third parties.
Since dating apps can contain more sensitive data, leaking of your personal data can have significant consequences.
How to avoid dating profile data leak
There is nothing the User can do to prevent data breaches on the part of the Platform. However, there are some precautions you can take to protect your privacy when using online dating.
These include not reusing passwords, usernames or email addresses across platforms. You must not use an existing profile, such as your Facebook profile, to log in to the dating profile. Using the same credentials on multiple profiles means that a breach of one service provides access to all other linked profiles.
If you’re sharing very personal information on your dating app profile, it should be a good idea to set up a completely unique email address and profile when creating your account, rather than linking it to existing accounts. And don’t use your work email for dating sites.
When it comes to cyberstalking, there are many ways for people to link your dating profile to your other online profiles. This is especially true if you reuse usernames and profile pictures across sites. Apps like Tinder also allow you to link your Instagram accounts.
Cyber stalking is a risk on any social platform, but due to the personal nature of dating apps, cyber stalking and physical stalking can happen. A potential match may not handle rejection well, or you may find someone who doesn’t match you contact you through other social media profiles.
Plus, if you link your Instagram profile to your dating profile, geo-tagging your photos makes it very easy to find places you frequent, such as your workplace or favorite cafe.
How to reduce the risk of cyberstalking on dating apps
When it comes to cyberstalking, it is important to reduce the risk of a stalker finding your dating profile by keeping your dating profile separate from other profiles that can be used to identify you or your workplace.
Not everyone you meet on dating apps is going to hook up. In fact, some users may resort to online harassment in response to rejection. A 2020 survey by the Pew Research Center found that 60% of women under the age of 35 who have used online dating sites or apps said someone continued to contact them after saying they were interested. Not there.
More than half of users who were women aged 18 to 34 also said they had been sent an unwanted sexually explicit message or image.
Like cyberstalking, harassers can track your other social media profiles. They may even share screenshots of your dating profile or conversations in an attempt to embarrass or embarrass you. Or they may continue to send you explicit content.
How to deal with dating app harassment
Unfortunately, you can’t predict whether a potential match will turn out to be a harasser. However, if someone starts making you uncomfortable, you can take action.
This includes reporting their profile on the dating app or site so that they can no longer harass you or other users. Also, make sure you don’t link your social profiles to your dating profile.
If someone tracks you on social media, block them so they can’t message you. And if they keep posting about you, report them for harassment.