Can You Change Your Tinder Privacy Settings?

Can You Change Your Tinder Privacy Settings?

Tinder Privacy Settings

Since 2012, millions of global users have been swiping left and right trying to find the perfect date or some company for the night. In fact, according to a recent study performed by popular wedding site, The Knot, around 22% of all surveyed couples claimed to have met online. Around 30% of those couples met specifically through Tinder.

Pretty cool, right?

Almost everybody who’s ever been single in the United States (and even many people abroad) have used Tinder at least once. Even if you’re not actively searching for that special someone, the mere act of swiping left and right through face after face is usually addictive enough to keep casual users hooked.

Throw in a couple of matches every now and then, and you’ve got a highly addictive dating app!

But today, we’re not here to talk about Tinder’s addictive qualities… Instead, we’ll be talking about the deeper, darker side of Tinder that few people recognize or even think about- how seriously (or loosely, in this case) Tinder treats its users’ data.

So, if you’ve ever pondered about just what the popular dating app knows about you, then this is definitely a worthwhile read!

What Does Tinder Really Know About Users?

Before we get into the data that Tinder collects on its users, let’s clarify one important fact that every internet user should be aware of:

Almost every website and app on the planet collects data and information on its users.

Why?

Well, some reasons are innocent… others aren’t so innocent.

On the more innocent side, Tinder (and other apps/sites) collect user data in order to make users’ experiences better. On the darker side, apps might be collecting data on you to sell it to advertisers or data brokers that are willing to pay big for bulk data obtained by popular social media platforms.

One of the best ways, by far, to limit the amount of data collected by apps and websites is to use a high-quality VPN like one of these to ensure that your browsing sessions and app usage remain anonymous.

So, now that we’ve got the basics out of the way, here’s what Tinder collects from its users.

Facebook Data

Up until recently, Tinder used a Facebook API to handle all accounts. Basically, users would need a Facebook account before they were allowed to create a Tinder account. Upon signing up, Tinder would automatically import data from Facebook to help create the Tinder user’s account.

Some of the most common data Tinder collected from Facebook users includes:

  • Your full name.
  • Your age.
  • Your most recent profile pictures.
  • Your email address.
  • Your phone number.

As the platform was just starting to grow its roots, this Facebook syncing ability allowed Tinder to collect massive amounts of personal data from its users. Since all Tinder users needed a Facebook account before they even signed up, this ensured that Tinder had accurate info on almost all of their users (except those who had very anonymous Facebook accounts, or uncomplete Facebook accounts).
Facebook

Your Phone Number

Recently, Tinder started to allow new users to create accounts without having to link their Facebook accounts. This is a great option for those who want to remain a little bit more anonymous. All you need is to enter your phone number and verify your age before creating an account.

That being said, Tinder will still have your phone number… unless, of course, you use a prepaid phone number that’s not directly linked to your name.

Your Name

Whether you’re connecting via Facebook or your personal phone number, Tinder will still have your name. This can be cross-referenced and linked back to your email address or phone number so the company can obtain additional data on you.

Your General Location

Tinder uses GPS location to help link users together. Users can also “change” the cities they’re looking in to try to match with users in other locales and encourage long-distance relationships. That being said, as long as you’re using the app, Tinder requires you to have your GPS turned on. This means that they always know your GPS location, as long as you’re using the app.

Tinder Data Scrapers

According to journalist Judith Deportail, she asked Tinder for a copy of her data and was given 800 pages worth of data, messages, and images that the platform had collected from her account. That’s a lot of data!

The worst part of it is that much of this data is not secured, encrypted, or kept private in any way, shape, or form. It’s fairly easy for hackers (or advertisers) to create and/or use data scraping programs to “scrape” unencrypted, public data from Tinder accounts and servers. Then, they can use this data to blackmail users, advertise to them, or just sell it to the highest bidder.

Pretty crazy, right? Again, this is a perfect example of why you should always be using a high-quality VPN like NordVPN while browsing the web or using web-based apps. You never know who’s trying to steal your data or scrape information from you for nefarious purposes.

Tips To Remain More Private While Using Tinder

Unfortunately, Tinder doesn’t offer its users a lot of options when it comes to privacy. Since the whole platform is literally based on connecting users based on data, they’re not too concerned about finding ways to help their users stay anonymous.

However, there are a few tactics that you can employ to help you remain more private and secure while using Tinder.

  1. Be Careful of What You Share Online: First, you should always be careful what you share online, especially in regards to your Facebook account. Any pictures or public posts you make can be viewed, archived, and saved by Tinder. As a general rule, don’t share anything that you wouldn’t want the whole world to know about and see.
  2. Don’t Link Your Facebook To Your Account: As we mentioned, Tinder recently started allowing users to create accounts with just their phone numbers. This allows you to bypass the whole Facebook linking thing and keeps Tinder from accessing your Facebook profile. It’s bad enough that Facebook has all of your data, so why allow two platforms to have access to the same data?
  3. Use A VPN While Accessing Tinder: If you want to keep your location data and internet traffic secure while using tinder, make sure you’re using a VPN designed for your Android or an iOS-compatible VPN. This will encrypt your online traffic and prevent the platform from tracking you. However, it will disable Tinder’s location-based matching service.
  4. Don’t Upload More Pictures Than You Need To: Lastly, don’t upload any more pictures than necessary to your Tinder account. Tinder will save each and every picture you upload, so the fewer pictures you upload, the better.

Final Tinder Privacy Tips

One final tip to keep in mind is that everything (including your messages) will be saved by Tinder. While the app isn’t necessarily malicious, it does pose a considerable risk to your personal data privacy. This is especially important if you’re somebody famous, have money, or are otherwise a person who would be of interest to hackers.

The last thing you want is to have some hacker coming after your Tinder data and using your “private” messages to blackmail you!

The best way to ensure that this doesn’t happen is to avoid sending overly personal messages through Tinder. Instead, save Tinder for basic chatting, jokes, and corny pickup lines. Once you’re more comfortable with a matched user, ask them to message you on a more private/secure messaging app like Telegram or WhatsApp, where your messages are encrypted and secure from third-party peepers.

Sources:

  1. https://www.theknot.com/content/dating-apps-marriage#:~:text=According%20to%20The%20Knot%202019,out%20the%20top%20three%20websites.
  2. https://www.theguardian.com/technology/2017/sep/26/tinder-personal-data-dating-app-messages-hacked-sold
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