Advertisers are swiping right on your dating data


It’s easy to assume that something as personal as dating is going to be treated with a bit of discretion. But in the real world, it’s likely that as you’re finding matches, you’re also letting advertisers add to their treasure trove of data about you.

A new report from tracker-blocking site Ghostery shows exactly how the eight biggest dating sites – Tinder, OKCupid, Plenty of Fish, Match, eHarmony, Zoosk, Badoo and OurTime – treat your personal information – and the results ain’t pretty.

All eight sites use trackers to one degree or another, with boasting the most – a whopping 36 – 11 more than its nearest challenger.

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Honors for the fewest trackers go to Badoo, with just nine, reflecting its image as “the good guys” of the dating world.

It’s worth pointing out that this study refers to websites only – if you use the app, none of these concerns applies – though don’t assume that means you’re automatically safe – apps use trackers too.

So who is listening? Well, the usual suspects – Facebook and Google – appear in the tracker list for all eight of the sites tested. Instagram tracks Tinder and OKCupid, whilst Amazon was on five out of eight – OKCupid, Plenty of Fish, Match, Zoosk and OurTime.

Match was quick to defend its stance in a statement to Mashable:

“Match Group companies use cookies to provide, secure and improve their services, measure site performance and usage and tailor ads to users’ interests.

“We do not sell user data. We understand that nothing is more important on a dating site than keeping personal information personal, which is why, unlike other tech companies whose business models rely on the sale of personal information, ours is subscription-based and reliant on engendering trust and being a great experience for users, NOT the sale of data.”

So what can you do? Unsurprisingly, Ghostery is keen for you to know that its products will solve your problems (including a forthcoming mobile edition to protect your apps), but if you want to sort things out manually, the first thing to do is see if there’s an option in your account settings to turn off personalised advertising. Facebook has one, and other sites on this list are likely to have it too.

Read Next: How did dating sites become such a hot mess?





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Chris M

Chris M

Chris has worked in technology journalism for over a decade, and brings his nerdy expertise to looking at what goes on under the hood of sex tech.

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