Creating a dating profile is pretty easy. You head over to the profile section of an app and start filling every single detail about yourself. That includes usernames, e-mail addresses, sexual orientation, interests, professions, thorough physical characteristics, personality traits and much more. For the sake of looking genuine, you even post up some of your “good” pictures.
While you blindly fill in all the gaps, one thing you fail to notice is the “Terms and Conditions,” which often include companies “escape routes” to misuse the information uploaded to their servers.
Shockingly, the personal information that you once entrusted to a certain dating app is already being withheld by data brokers. As it turns out, profiles get sold to data brokers for millions of dollars, through online auctions.
Researcher Joana Moll collaborated with NGO Tactical Tech to uncover such practices in the online dating world. In a project titled “The Dating Brokers: An autopsy of online love,” the team unveils about their experiment of purchasing one million dating profiles from the data broker website USDate for $153.
The profiles that USDate claims to be “genuine” came from numerous dating websites like Match, Tinder, Plenty of Fish, and OkCupid. The information included everything from usernames to over five million photos.
“Established dating sites are also continuously trading in profiles-in order to get new faces into their services and thus increase matchmaking probabilities among their users (and get new paying subscribers),” writes The Dating Bonkers.
Joana Moll tells Motherboard, “It’s almost like technologically impossible to erase yourself from the Internet, you’re info is on so many servers.”
Updated 16th Nov 2018 – After publishing this article, Match Group spokesperson told us in an e-mail —
“No Match Group property has ever bought, sold or worked with USDate in any capacity. We do not sell user’s personally identifiable information and have never sold profiles to any organization. Any attempt by USDate to pass us off as partners is patently false.”