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On Valentine's Day, when you mine a dating app for love purposes, these platforms do the same with your data. That's because the business models of these apps and websites rely on the information you provide to determine things like suggested matches and ads that you when you swipe.

But in the profile pictures of many strangers, it's hard to tell how services like Tinder and OkCupid choose the suggested match for you. After all, the algorithms that support these platforms are proprietary, and the company is not interested in providing us or competitors with details about how they work.

However, the information provided voluntarily by these companies (and EU General Data Protection Regulation) Can give us a good idea of ​​how they generally work. As for whether these algorithms are really better at finding love than the real world? Although this hasn't stopped, it remains to be debated 30% of U.S. adults Have tried at least one of these platforms in your lifetime.

What types of data can dating sites track and who can get them?

First, no matter what data you explicitly share with a dating app or website, the platform now has it. Depending on the platform you use, this may mean your gender, sexual orientation, location data, political background, and religious beliefs. If you share photos or videos through a dating app, yes, the company has access to those photos or videos. They may also be using AI for screening. Bumblebee use Such techniques can preemptively screen and block images that may be tampered with.

But dating platforms can and also If you associate activity data on your social media platform with your appointment profile, you can access that data. As reporter Judith Duportail was guardian, At least 800 pages of information are kept on the dating application platform Tinder, including information from her Facebook and Instagram accounts (including her "likes" and the number of Facebook friends she has) and the text of her conversations with everyone Single her match on the app. (You can also try to request some Your Tinder Dating app data (if you're curious).

So no matter what service you use, whether it's an application-based platform (such as Hinge) or a website-based service (such as Match.com), you can have a lot of data. These platforms can be used with third-party services, and also Receive information about you.

For example, a website data tracker can get the URLs you visit on dating sites and use this information to collect analytics data or target ads to you, As we explained earlier this week. Your data can also be shared with third-party companies that the dating application may work with to study their website usage and help target advertising.

Some of these dating sharing processes are questionable. For example, as early as 2018, Grindr was forced to admit that two companies that paid for their research on app usage eventually gained access to information about their apps. HIV status of users (The operation has been stopped). OkCupid and Tinder for all Android versions that match the -Yes it also has Match.com -They reportedly shared user data, including information about their political opinions, race and location, with a customer engagement service called Braze, Study by the Consumer Protection Agency Norwegian Consumer Council Earlier this year. (In response to this report, matches Said It does not use "any sensitive personal information for advertising purposes", but uses third parties to "assistance technology operations and provide our overall services." )

Although dating companies share user data with third parties, dating companies often claim they don't have Sell users personal information. But this does not mean that they cannot have Security breach. This is just an interesting example: A bug in the chat feature of the dating application Jack made it possible to view user images sent as "private" on the public Internet. Technology Studio last year. On Tinder, this is a security vulnerability caused by issues on the Facebook platform and Tinder's login system Allow researchers Take over the account on the dating app using only the user's phone number (this issue was raised in 2018 and was quickly resolved).

Another privacy consideration: Your private communications on these apps may be transferred to government or law enforcement. As with many other technology platforms, the privacy policies of these sites often provide that they can provide you with data when faced with a legal requirement, such as a court order.

How does the algorithm use my data to suggest matches?

Although we don't know how these different algorithms work, there are some common themes: Most dating apps may use the information you provide to influence their matching algorithms. In addition, the people you liked (and the people who liked you) can decide your future matching suggestions. Finally, although these services are usually free, their additional paid features can enhance the algorithm's default results.

Let's take a look at Tinder, one of them The most widely used dating app In the U.S. Algorithm dependent Not only in information You can share with the platform, as well as data about your use of the service, such as your activity and location. in a Blog post The company explained in a version released last year that "every time your profile is liked or nodded" is taken into account when matching you with others. Just like other platforms OkCupidDescribe its matching algorithm. But on Tinder, you can also purchase additional "freeking love it" more likely You actually got the game.

You may wonder if there is a secret score for your ability on Tinder. the company used Use the so-called "Elo" scoring system, which changes your "score" as people with more swipe rights swipe more and more towards you, As Vox explained last year. Although the company said it was no longer using it, the Match Group rejected Recode's other questions about its algorithm. (Furthermore, neither Grindr nor Bumble responded to our request for comment at the time of publication).

The hinge is also owned by the Match Group, Work similarly: The platform considers the objects you like, skip, and match, as well as the "Preferences" and "dealbreakers" you specify and "Who may you exchange phone numbers with" to suggest objects that can be matched.

But, interestingly, the company Also solicit user feedback Rear They date to improve the algorithm. And Hinge suggestedMost compatibleThe competition (usually daily) takes place with the help of an artificial intelligence called machine learning. That's it edgeAshley Carman explains the method behind the algorithm: "The company's technology breaks them down by people they like. Then, it tries to the patterns they like. If people like a person, once Other users like this particular person and they may like another person. "

It's important to note that these platforms also take into account your preferences that you share directly with them, which will definitely affect your results. (You should be able to filter based on what factors-some platforms users to filter or exclude matches based on race, "body type" and religious background-controversial, complex practice).

However, even if you do not explicitly share certain preferences with the app, these platforms Still magnify potentially problematic dating preferences.

Last year, a team supported by Mozilla Designed a game The purpose of calling it MonsterMatch is to demonstrate how the bias expressed by your initial swipe will ultimately affect the realm of available matches, not just for you but for everyone else. The game's website explains how this phenomenon called "collaborative filtering" works:

Collaborative filtering in appointments means that the earliest and most application users have a huge impact on the profiles that future users see. Some early users say she likes (by swiping to the right) other active dating app users. The early user then said that, for whatever reason, she did not like (swipe ) the profile of the Jewish user. Once some newcomers also swipe right towards users of the event's dating app, the algorithm assumes that newcomers "also" dislike Jewish user profiles based on the definition of collaborative filtering. So newcomers will never see the Jews.

If you want to see what actually happens, you can Play games here.

Can these applications really help me find love?

Several of our interviewees call out (You can join our open source reporting network Here) Wondering why they are out of luck on these applications. We ca n’t provide personalized feedback, but it ’s worth noting that the functionality of the dating app is not a resolved issue, and The subject of extensive debate.

A study last year found that it is now possible to connect online The most popular way to meet Targeting heterosexual couples in the U.S., Pew reports 57% of people People using online dating apps find it at least a positive experience. But these apps could also expose people to online spoofing and fish attacks, researchers at Ohio State University Suggest People suffering from loneliness and social anxiety may end up having bad experiences when using these platforms. Like many technological innovations, dating apps need to weigh the pros and cons.

Still, even if it's unclear whether long-term dating is a success, the dating app is definitely a useful tool for a first date. Hey, maybe you will be lucky.

Open source Implemented by Omidyar Network. All open source content is editorially independent and produced by our reporters.

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