A programmer who scraped 40,000 photos from dating app Tinder to help aid artificial intelligence research has been reprimanded by the Hollywood company for breaking its terms and conditions.
The developer decided to pull 40,000 profile pictures from Tinder, 20,000 from each gender, to create a useful facial dataset, after being disappointed with facial datasets he had previously worked with.
The programmer, named Stuart Colianni, then uploaded the dataset to Kaggle, a machine learning platform acquired by Google earlier this year, along with his “simple script” to scrape Tinder profile photos, so others could create their own dataset.
In his post on GitHub, Colianni said: “Having worked with facial datasets in the past, I have often been disappointed. The datasets tend to be extremely strict in their structure, and are usually too small.
“Tinder gives you access to thousands of people within miles of you. Why not leverage Tinder to build a better, larger facial dataset?”
However, by doing this, the programmer violated section 11 of Tinder’s terms of service, which prohibits: “Use of any robot, spider, site search/retrieval application, or other manual or automatic device or process to retrieve, index, “data mine”, or in any way reproduce or circumvent the navigational structure or presentation of the Service or its contents.”
Tinder promptly contacted the developer, and asked him to remove the dataset from Github.
Despite this, the “People of Tinder” dataset, which contains six downloadable zip files, had already been downloaded over 300 times.
In a statement, the Hollywood dating company said: “We take the security and privacy of our users seriously and have tools and systems in place to uphold the integrity of our platform. It’s important to note that Tinder is free and used in more than 190 countries, and the images that we serve are profile images, which are available to anyone swiping on the app.
“We are always working to improve the Tinder experience and continue to implement measures against the automated use of our API, which includes steps to deter and prevent scraping.
“This person has violated our terms of service (Sec. 11) and we are taking appropriate action and investigating further.”