I asked Tinder for my data. It sent me 800 pages of my deepest, darkest secrets


“What you are describing is called secondary implicit disclosed information. Tinder knows much more about you when studying your behaviour on the app. It knows how often you connect and at which times; the percentage of white men, black men, Asian men you have matched; which kinds of people are interested in you; which words you use the most; how much time people spend on your picture before swiping you, and so on. Personal data is the fuel of the economy. Consumers’ data is being traded and transacted for the purpose of advertising.”


Being a bit older, I recall the early hotornot days. It’s easy to forget that experience now and just stay isolated from the world of Tinder etc.

But when I think about how I acted at age 20, there’s little chance I would have avoided getting sucked into this sort of thing. I even intellectually understood many of the issues back then. I was strongly biased against all forms of internet dating matchups (for both good and bad reasons). And yet I still fell into some procrastination looking at HotOrNot. Only extremely rare 20-year-olds today would be able to resist the temptation to try stuff like Tinder when it’s so well designed and socially ubiquitous. The fact that it is (as I understand it) not strictly about romance is specifically the hook that captures those who would be embarrassed to seem desperate in that area of life…

There seems no clear solution to this problem


I know you don’t mean to blame the people using the dating apps, but it’s important to note the addictive design of the app is not the fault of the people using such apps.

Social norms may have evolved, and the apps certainly take advantage of this, but so much of our usage is based on perceived risk. When it’s on a device that’s in our pocket, that we share all our intimate thoughts with, it is a natural extension of that private feeling that we extend to apps on our devices. Such apps are exploiting this good will towards technology.


Indeed, I certainly don’t mean to blame victims. What I was meaning was actually the opposite, along the lines of this idea:

I could convince myself that it’s the victims’ fault because I am lucky enough to have personal circumstances that make it easier to resist the temptation of these apps. It takes some reflection to recognize my privileges and circumstance and realize that there’s nothing inherent to me as a person that would make me immune, I just happen to have avoided it circumstantially.

I share this partly to give some insight into those sort of people who could fall into victim-blaming and to recognize and reflect on how shallow that victim-blaming mindset is.

Of course, if I were absolutely and complete immune to something like this for whatever strange reason, it would still be victim-blaming to assert that everyone else should just be like me. But besides recognizing this in general, I think it’s important for non-victims to acknowledge the ways that their situation is a matter of luck and circumstance in many regards. There’s value in recognizing that I could have been a victim if the cards just played out differently.

Of course, I’ve taken actions and worked to avoid being victimized, and I want to spread those tools and perspectives to help others avoid it as well. But that’s the nature of victim-blaming: just because the victim could have avoided the situation (not always the case, but often is true) doesn’t mean they are at fault. The abuser is the party that is truly at fault.


same. i expect the same of match, okcupid, coffee and bagel and other apps too. i’ve been there but i actually fear them now. i think that’s part of their service improvement though. that’s how they know what an app user wants and then it uses its algorithm to link you or present you with similar matches. that’s the whole idea i guess. may look unethical when you delve into it but i guess that’s really why we get a prompt first up tinder or so and so app would like to access so and so data. area you okay with it?