Tech giants, such as Google and Facebook, may be using data trackers to gather personal information from some dating sites, an online ad blocker has found.
Ghostery surveyed eight leading dating sites and found data trackers from Facebook and Google on all of them.
Match.com had the highest number of trackers (36), followed by OkCupid and over-50s dating service, Ourtime. Only nine were found on Badoo.
Jeremy Tillman, Ghostery’s president, told technology news company, Recode: “Based on the URL, Match can start building some pretty specific lists from among their own users to target you on Facebook.
“It’s not that Match can just use the information that you generated at Match.com. Every other website that you visit that has the same Facebook tracker — of which 30 per cent of the web have — it’s adding to your interest profile.”
Some of these organisations may only be tracking the web pages that daters have visited, but others could be collecting data on gender, sexual orientation and other dating preferences.
The companies in question have reassured users that they are only using the data to personalise the advertisements.
Google said to Recode in an email: “Google does not build advertising profiles from sensitive data, such as a user’s sexual interests or religious beliefs, and has strict policies prohibiting advertisers from using such data to target ads.”
Ghostery’s study also found that most of the trackers were from smaller companies like Advertising.com or AppNexus.
Facebook has used private information to personalise ads before. In September, Privacy International, a charity which promotes the right to privacy, found that woman’s app, Maya, was sending information about contraceptive choices, period due dates and sickness symptoms to Facebook.
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