A lot of online dating websites collect information about your behavior on the website such as which profiles you view, what you click on, and what you skip. Later on, they can pass the information about your preferences to a third party.
Over the last couple of years, the concept of dating has undergone a lot of changes. Nowadays, the quest for love begins on the internet as opposed to pubs and on the street. All of this thanks to the rapid development of technology and the world steadily but firmly merging with the virtuality.
It has a number of advantages as finding a suitable partner has become easier than ever before. Various online dating sites give you an opportunity to connect with the people you would not have found otherwise and seriously expand your dating pool. Besides, they also help you to narrow your search down to the preferred specifics in order to match with the most compatible singles out there. A miracle, isn’t it? Turns out, there are some drawbacks to online dating, too.
Below is the list of the top five most heartbreaking truths about online dating privacy.
1. Some Online Dating Platforms Do Not Protect Your Dating Profile Page from Getting Indexed by Google
This is not necessarily true for all dating websites, but there are definitely some platforms that are flawed in this way. For instance, OkCupid is known to have all its members’ profiles public by default, which means they can be accessed by anyone from Google search results. This happens because search engines are not told to ignore profiles, hence they index them and use them to bump the overall rating of the website.
Getting indexed is not a problem if you do not mind your profile getting a couple of casual visitors. However, if you have your reasons to remain more private, it is important that you pay close attention to customizing your settings to making your profile only visible to registered members of the website you use for online dating.
2. Your Uploads and Your Dating Profile Information Does Not Get Deleted Straightaway
As a famous saying goes, if you upload something on the internet, it stays there forever. Sadly, online dating websites are not an exception to the rule. A lot of platforms store information about your profiles long after you deleted your actual profile.
In fact, they have their own reasons for doing so (ever thought about how convenient it is to be able to restore your old Tinder profile after going through that messy break up instead of having to create a new one?), which may vary from one service to another. Regardless of the motivation behind such a move, the reality is all your bios, and login details, and even search preferences linger on the website’s servers for a while. The main problem is that they can later be extracted from the bottom of the server archive and be used against you in an investigation, a law case, or any other form.
This is particularly relevant for the photo uploads as most dating websites use external image hosting instead of storing media on their internal servers.
3. Maintaining Anonymity May Be a Challenge If You Are No Stranger To Sharing Pictures on Dating Websites
One of the most controversial issues associated with online dating is the extent of anonymity users of dating websites may maintain while searching for their love on the internet. A lot of people do not want to be identifiable online, which is the main reason why they still choose to meet their potential partners the old-fashioned way without even giving the miraculous ways of online dating a try.
Almost all major dating services are heavily visual-oriented, which means they facilitate matches by showing their users pictures of the people the system thinks they would be most compatible with. Of course, not all platforms employ the aforementioned approach. However, a lot of the times, even if they claim they do not, your chances of getting a match are significantly higher if you upload a couple of pictures to reflect on your personality, hobbies, and other stuff. Really, there is no surprise in that: no matter what, modern people are still cautious and slightly suspicious of who they meet on the web, and having a picture in front of you takes a lot of that anxiety away. Besides, appearance is an important dating criterion for a substantial part of singles.
There are several reasons as to why people are worried about their dating profile pictures getting exposed. Some are simply embarrassed to be seen using such sites and do not want their acquaintances and friends to catch them. Indeed, there used to be a stigma against online dating. Nowadays, of course, this is becoming less and less relevant as online dating is becoming more widespread and generally accepted. Long gone are the days when people would shy away from online dating scared that someone they know would see their profile. Today, almost everyone has one, and over time it has become the new normal.
However, for those people who are using more niche websites (such as adult dating websites or gay dating sites) and want to protect their identity, it still may remain a valid privacy problem.
You need to understand that there are face recognition systems available to the general public. Those can potentially unveil your identity by matching your facial features with the name on your social media profiles. On top of that, if you recycle some media content that had previously been published online to put it on your dating site profiles, you put yourself at the risk of getting exposed. Reverse Google Image Search is a powerful thing!
4. The Security of Your Financial Information Can Be Compromised
There are currently hundreds and hundreds of online dating platforms. Some of them have been around for a while, some have only recently hit the market, some are free and some are paid, some are mainstream while the others are rather niche. In fact, the market is so saturated there is definitely a platform for anyone no matter how specific their needs are. Hence, the only category that truly matters is that some services are legit and trustworthy, and some are a total scam. The latter is on the of the greatest problems in the industry as their sole purpose is to trick singles and blatantly rob them of their money.
Some online dating websites ask you for your billing information to purchase some paid features but instead, just steal it and take your money away. This is why it is essential you pay close attention to choosing legit websites that are known to be trustworthy and safe. For instance, you can always read up reviews of dating sites where all the pros and cons, hidden tricks, and possible risks are usually listed on special sites like singlehearts.org and others. It is also very important you only make transactions if the website uses a secure payment system!
5. Your Personal Data Can Be Turned into a Business Model
At last but not at least, do you remember the last time you clicked the ‘accept’ button when the cookies notification popped up on the dating website? But do you know what cookies actually are?
A lot of online dating websites collect information about your behavior on the website such as which profiles you view, what you click on, and what you skip. Later on, they can pass the information about your preferences to a third party. It would then be used by marketing specialists to target you with some crafty ads on the web.