A Norwegian government agency is alleging that some of the most popular online dating platforms violate privacy laws by spreading user information to marketing companies.
‘Out of Control: How Consumers Are Exploited by the Online Advertising Industry’ was the title of a report produced by the Norwegian Consumer Council. It analysed the Android versions of Tinder, Grindr and OkCupid to potentially uncover how data was being exploited.
The researchers found that Grindr shared user locations with “more than a dozen” advertising firms, a claim that was backed up by a separate investigation from The New York Times.
OkCupid is more open about who it shares data with, as it previously published a list of more than 300 partners. Singles must manually opt out if they don’t want to be targeted by tailored advertising based on their answers to in-app questions.
Finally, it was discovered that Tinder shared the genders and sexual preferences of its users.
The Norwegian Consumer Council announced it was planning to file complaints to local regulators to investigate whether or not GDPR had been violated. A similar suggestion to look into the companies’ practices is also being made to US regulators.
A statement from Match Group explained that the company does work with third-party services to provide relevant advertising materials, but it insisted that it remains compliant with protection laws.
Grindr also argued that it valued privacy above anything else. The gay dating app received significant criticism in 2018 when it was found be sharing HIV statuses of its users.
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