For this week’s blog post, I analyzed Tinder’s Privacy Policy (see here). If you don’t know, Tinder is an online dating app that allows users to swipe on people’s pictures, liking or disliking a profile that contains a picture, basic personality information, and common interests. From there, you can chat and eventually meet in person if you so desire. Personally, I have never used Tinder, neither in a serious way to meet someone nor in a joking way to catfish someone. Going off the common knowledge and stereotypes associated with Tinder, I decided to take on this Privacy Policy, which was super interesting and fairly easy to read. In fact, that was Tinder’s goal: “we know that insufficient information and overly complicated language are common issues in privacy policies. We take the exact opposite approach: we have written our Privacy Policy and related documents in plain language. We actually want you to read our policies and understand our privacy practices!” (Tinder). They stuck to their goal, too! I found it readable and an appropriate length, making it not too terrible to read through unlike some other privacy policies I came along. In addition, the Privacy Policy was divided into different sections by headings, making it even easier to read. There was no background information or outside knowledge required as long as you know at a basic level what Tinder is and how it operates!

I read about some fascinating things that come along with downloading Tinder from the Privacy Policy. For instance, did you know that Tinder “may also share information with partners who distribute and assist us in advertising our services…We follow a strict vetting process prior to engaging any service provider or working with any partner. All of our service providers and partners must agree to strict confidentiality obligations” (Tinder). That’s crazy to think that they give out users’ information, but sadly this was expected and even mainstream now. Another terrifying that Tinder does is as a member of the Match Group, which means it will share users’ info with other members of the group “includ[ing] websites and apps such as Tinder, OkCupid, Plenty of Fish, Match, Meetic, BlackPeopleMeet, LoveScout24, OurTime, Pairs, ParPerfeito, and Twoo” (Tinder). The most surprising thing I found out about Tinder is that by using the app, consent is implied. You know when you open an app, and the screen pops up to check that you agree to the Terms and Conditions. People should actually read those because in cases like this you are handing over all consent for the app to do basically whatever it wants. Tinder monitors people’s chats with other users as explained by the Privacy Policy, which is something I do not think a lot of people know. If more people knew about the amount of access it has, maybe people would change their minds about using it. Most obvious is that Tinder tracks your location: “If you give us permission, we can collect your precise geolocation (latitude and longitude) through various means, depending on the service and device you’re using, including GPS, Bluetooth or Wi-Fi connections. The collection of your geolocation may occur in the background even when you aren’t using the services if the permission you gave us expressly permits such collection” (Tinder). I can’t think of any apps on my phone that do not have access to my location. At least with Tinder, it makes sense because you are trying to meet people in your area. Apps like Shazam and 2048 Cupcake should not have access to my location. This is one of the most common occurrences with being a phone owner though. Apps will pinpoint your location, which is pretty scary.

The interview below touches on the familiarity of others with Tinder. I tried to find someone that had used it in order to bring to light some of the things that Tinder has access to. Overall, I think people today have a pretty healthy understanding at the basic level what Tinder is and what it is doing. This interview supports these ideas that I had.

*see transcript of the interview at the bottom of this post after Works Cited

One important thing to remember about Tinder is that people easily lie about who they are online. The app requests basic information from users like date of birth, gender, lifestyle facts, interests, pictures, and videos. These things are easy to fake. People do this in order to be funny or to take advantage of people who are actually trying to use the app to meet people. Also, I know a lot of people that use Tinder before they are 18 and lie about their age in order to get around Tinder’s age policy. Thankfully, Tinder provides a possible safeguard against these people who lie about who they are: “We may suspend your use of all or part of the services without notice if we suspect or detect any breach of security” (Tinder). While this obviously does not stop people or catch everyone who is lying, it is still one way to prevent it.

The whole concept of someone lying online reminds me of the book chapter “The Only Reason to Do Anything: Lulz, Play, and the Mask of Trolling” and our class discussions about trolling. Although catfishing someone on Tinder is not the same thing as trolling, maybe it could be considered a lesser degree of it. Think about it: catfishers lie about who they are on the app in order to get someone interested. Then, when the person is lured in, they reveal that it was all a lie, devastating the catfishee. Catfishers thrive off the unhappiness and depression of the person they tricked, just like what online trolls do with harassing people.

The main take away from reading Tinder’s Privacy Policy statement I had was how difficult it would be to keep information about yourself “a secret.” Tinder collects so much information, and it would be more difficult to use the app if you didn’t provide it. I mean the whole point of Tinder is to meet other people, so would you not have to be transparent online (or lie about being transparent)?



Works Cited

Tinder. “Privacy Policy.” Tinder Policy Pages, 25 May 2018,


Transcript for ADA Compliance:

Interviewer: I’m interviewing an 18 year old male college student. Hello!

Anonymous Interviewee: Hello.

Interviewer: Have you ever used Tinder?

Anonymous Interviewee: I have.

Interviewer: And what way have you used it?

Anonymous Interviewee: I downloaded awhile back for fun, and like spent for a couple of days I swiped for awhile and found a few matches.

Interviewer: Did you know that Tinder uses your location?

Anonymous Interviewee: I did not know that explicitly but I assumed so.

Interviewer: How do you feel that another user could request personal information about you by contacting Tinder?

Anonymous Interviewee: Um I don’t feel great about that.

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