Introduction Online dating is a growing industry in the United States, increasing in popularity every year.
The proliferation of dating sites has become a cultural phenomenon as millions of users flock to find romantic partners online.
Dating sites that serve cultures where arranged marriages are the norm have given singles a greater chance to participate in the process of finding a family-approved mate.In the hope of attracting romantic interest, customers disclose sensitive personal information about themselves.This information may then be re-disclosed not only to prospective dates, but also to advertisers and, ultimately, to data aggregators who use the data for purposes unrelated to online dating and without customer consent.In addition, there are risks such as scammers, sexual predators, and reputational damage that come along with using online dating services.Dating sites have been accused of failing to take enough action to protect vulnerable users and intentionally misleading customers by using impossible-to-prove claims and scientific language.
This fact sheet provides information on the potential advantages and disadvantages of using online dating services, and offers tips to greater protect yourself and your data from abuse.
The Privacy Rights Clearinghouse does not endorse any of the products or services mentioned in this Fact Sheet. Dating Sites Harvest Sensitive Personal Information Online dating sites generally offer three kinds of services: 1) an ability to search for and see pictures of prospects; 2) a chance to exchange messages and set up in-person meetings; and 3) "matching," for example, recommendations for prospective long-term romantic partnerships based on personal information given to and analyzed by the company.
Most sites offer the first two services for free, although some require a fee for additional interaction or premium messaging abilities.
Only a few offer matching and these are likely to be fee or subscription based.
In addition to sites offering broad matching, thousands of niche sites have cropped up that intend to help narrow the pool based on ethnicity and religion (JDate and Christian Singles), orientation (Grindr), and even a love of Apple products (Cupidtino).
In order to match you with others, online dating services collect data about you through forms, quizzes, preference questions, and even blood tests.